Follow and listen to our podcast

StashLearn
Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Life

Amazon vs. Walmart: Inside the Battle to Sell You Everything

October 22, 2018

  • Amazon and Walmart are two titans of retail
  • Amazon is the king of online sales; Walmart specializes in bricks and mortar
  • Increasingly they are going after each other’s territory
2 min read

Amazon and Walmart are the two titans of the retail world.

Together, they ring up nearly half-a-trillion dollars worth of sales—that’s more revenue each year than the next top five retailers combined, according to the National Retail Federation.

But one is the king of eCommerce, specializing in crunching consumer data and delivery logistics, while the other is a behemoth in the old world of bricks and mortar transactions, at home with shopping carts and Black Friday super deals.

Yet increasingly, Amazon and Walmart are going neck in neck for customers, each competing for the territory of the other. While Amazon has attempted to cross over into physical world sales, Walmart has invested heavily in its online presence.

Who will win the war for your wallet? We take a deeper look at both businesses, and you decide.

Amazon vs Walmart

Founders:

Amazon: Jeff Bezos
Walmart: 
Sam Walton

Year founded:

Amazon: 1994
Walmart: 
1962

Market Cap:

Amazon:  $900 billion
Walmart: 
$290 billion

Revenues:

Amazon: $178 billion
Walmart: 
$500 billion annually, as of fiscal year 2018

Number of employees:

Amazon: 566,000
Walmart: 
1.5 million

Who owns what?

In addition to consumer-facing businesses such as Zappos, Twitch, and Whole Foods, Amazon owns a suite of tech businesses including cloud services company Amazon Web Services, membership services division Prime, and consumer electronics such as Alexa and Echo products, Kindle, and Fire.

Amazon also owns other e-commerce companies, including Souq.com, which specializes in retail sales in the Middle East.

Walmart owns numerous other retailers both in the US and around the globe, such as men’s fashion wear company Bonobos, online retailer Jet.com, and the membership-only wholesale warehouse chain Sam’s Club. It also owns e-Commerce company Flipkart, of India.

It also has a toe into the world of streaming media. The company announced plans to get into the binge-watching subscription television space with Vudu, in order to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

Amazon’s strengths

Amazon practically invented e-Commerce, and today controls nearly half of all online sales.

Two-thirds of all consumers in the U.S. have bought from Amazon and nearly one-third purchase from it at least once a month, according to reports. With the recent acquisition of the high-end grocery chain Whole Foods, Amazon has also planted a stake in the ground for physical world sales.

More than a million small businesses today also sell on the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon’s weaknesses

Other online retailers are gunning for its territory.

In 2016, Walmart purchased the online retailer Jet.com, in what analysts said was an attempt to compete directly with Amazon. Overseas, it also faces big competition from companies including e-commerce company Alibaba—which sells to 500 million consumers in China alone.

Walmart’s strengths

By sales volume, Walmart is the largest retailer in the nation, and nearly every American has shopped at Walmart, according to industry data. It specializes in the race to the bottom prices, by squeezing suppliers to offer the lowest cost merchandise they can possibly produce.

Walmart weaknesses

Every year, more consumers shop online, and Walmart has had to play catch up with its digital sales strategy. Its purchase of Jet.com for $3 billion in 2016, according to experts, demonstrated its intention not to be caught napping.

Meanwhile, Walmart estimates digital sales for the company will increase by 40% in 2018. Smaller superstores such as Costco and Target are nipping at its heels.

Want a piece of retail giants?  You can invest in stocks and funds that focus on the business of retail on Stash.

*All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered®trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them

 

By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
politics social media Careers Retirement love and money
Disclaimers

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.