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商业 - 科技

沃尔玛电商业务能超越亚马逊吗

Mike Kwatinetz 2014年10月28日

有不少媒体报道称,沃尔玛的在线销售额正在快速增长。结果,有些人就会误读亚马逊与沃尔玛网店的相对增速,并开始相信沃尔玛正在缩小差距。但这实际上与事实相去甚远。

    

    多年前,一些有识之士就确信,电商的增长速度将比实体店快得多。在传统零售商看来,这一点并没有那么显而易见——直至最近。2001年,我曾对一些同事表示,沃尔玛公司(Wal-Mart)应该收购亚马逊公司(Amazon),以获得在线零售的优势(当时亚马逊的股价约为5美元)。但这个提法却遭到了嘲笑。我当时买了亚马逊的股票,但很显然并没有赚到最大回报,因为不到18个月我就以3倍价格卖掉了(现在股价是317美元)。我想,当时有些富有预见的投资银行家在提出沃尔玛应该收购亚马逊这样的建议后,也受到了类似嘲讽。如果当时这个建议成真,就不知道今天的世界会是什么模样,因为沃尔玛治下的亚马逊是很容易脱轨的。

    而如今,羽翼丰满的电商正在让传统零售商承受巨大压力。2014年,美国的在线零售额有望超过3000亿美元。随着电商在零售业所占的份额越来越大,它已抢走了实体店的人气,线下增长实际上已停滞不前。在这种情势下,很多传统零售商终于有点开窍了。沃尔玛日前宣布该公司将大幅增加在线投资,以努力缩小与亚马逊的差距。有不少媒体报道称,沃尔玛的在线销售额正在快速增长。结果,有些人就会误读亚马逊与沃尔玛网店的相对增速,并开始相信沃尔玛正在缩小差距。但这实际上与事实相去甚远,因为单纯将大数字与较小数字相比是有一定欺骗性的。

    相信沃尔玛正迎头赶上的一大理由是,据华尔街的一致估算,沃尔玛本财年网店销售额预计增长30%,而亚马逊则“仅”增长20%。光看这一数字存在如下四大问题:

    1.沃尔玛的增长额中有一部分颇具欺骗性,因为它部分是由其实体店转移到网店的销售额构成的。

    2.沃尔玛的增速基于一个小得多的数字。下图显示的是亚马逊和沃尔玛去年销售收入的实际增长额。尽管沃尔玛有望增长30亿美元(这已令人肃然起敬了),但亚马逊145亿美元的增长额是沃尔玛的近5倍,仅这一数字就远超沃尔玛的整体在线销售额。

    3.零售业整体从实体店向网上转移对沃尔玛实体店的经营构成了极大压力。去年沃尔玛在美国的总销售额增长率是1.6%,而同店销售额实际上是有所下降的。

    4.亚马逊的销售额是按照净值确认的。由于这些销售额中日益增长的部分为销售其他商家产品获得的净收入(利润极高),因此该公司实际掌控的销售额远超其所报收入。亚马逊还披露了该公司从亚马逊网络服务(Amazon Web Services)信用卡和广告中获取的服务收入。如果我们假定剩余销售额是亚马逊从第三方商家——也被称为亚马逊市场(Amazon Marketplace)——收入中获得的分成(也是按净值确认),那就可以计算出第三方商家每年的总收入。将这部分收入换算为第三方商家销售的商品,就可算出亚马逊从这个市场中所获的平均推介费。假定亚马逊收取的平均推介费为该市场总销售额的15%,那就可以算出亚马逊催生的所有产品销售总收入。2013年,这个数字就是1250亿美元,而不是该公司自己报告的740亿美元总收入。这一总数还意味着公司的销售额增长率是28%,而不是公司报称的22%。

    Many years ago it became obvious to some of us that online retail would continue to grow at a much faster pace than brick and mortar stores. This appeared to be less obvious to traditional retailers until more recently. In 2001, I suggested to some colleagues that Wal-Mart WMT 0.29% should acquire Amazon to gain an edge in online retail (Amazon stock was about $5 a share at the time). This idea was scoffed at. I bought Amazon AMZN 0.07% stock but, clearly, didn’t maximize my execution as I sold it within 18 months for 3 times the return (it’s now $317). I’m guessing there were also some prescient investment bankers who received a similar response after suggesting that Wal-Mart buy Amazon. Who knows what the world would be like today had that occurred, as Amazon could easily have been derailed under Wal-Mart management.

    Now, traditional retailers are under extraordinary pressure as online has matured and is expected to exceed $300 billion in U.S. sales in 2014. As online retail has claimed a larger and larger share of the overall retail business, it has sucked the air out of brick and mortar stores, and offline growth has come to a virtual standstill. With this emergence, many traditional players have finally seen the light. Wal-Mart has announced it will be increasing its online investments by a substantial amount in an effort to try to close the gap against Amazon. There has been much press about the acceleration in Wal-Mart’s online sales, and as a result, there are some who will mistakenly look at the relative growth numbers of Amazon vs. Wal-Mart’s online store and start to believe Wal-Mart is closing the gap. This could not be further from the truth as it is deceptive to compare larger numbers to smaller ones.

    One reason to believe that Wal-Mart is catching up is because in the current fiscal year, the retailer is expected to grow online sales by 30% while is Amazon “only” expected to post a 20% gain, according to consensus Wall Street estimates. There are four problems with focusing on this number:

    1. A portion of Wal-Mart’s growth is deceptive because it partly consists of shifting sales away from its physical stores to its online store.

    2. Wal-Mart’s growth comes off of a much smaller number. In the chart below we look at the actual dollar growth of Amazon and Wal-Mart last year. While Wal-Mart is expected to increase online sales by a very respectable $3 billion, Amazon’s gain of $14.5 billion is nearly 5 times Wal-Mart’s dollar gain, and the gain alone will exceed Wal-Mart’s total online sales.

    3. The shift of overall retail toward online from physical stores has pressured Wal-Mart’s growth in its brick and mortar operations. Last year, Wal-Mart’s overall US revenue growth, including online sales, was 1.6% with same store sales actually declining slightly.

    4. Amazon sales are recognized on a net basis. Since an increasing proportion of the sales are net dollars (at very high margins) received for selling other merchants products, the amount of sales that it controls far exceeds its reported revenue. They also report what amount of their services revenue is from the combination of Amazon Web Services credit card and advertising. If we assume that the remainder is their share of third-party merchant revenue (also known as Amazon Marketplace) (which is reported on a net basis) then we are able to calculate gross third-party merchant revenue by year. The conversion of that revenue to products sold by third-party merchants is a matter of projecting what Amazon’s average referral fee is for the marketplace. If we assume that Amazon receives 15%, on average, of total marketplace sales then we are able to calculate the total of all product revenue generated by Amazon. In 2013, this would be $125 billion rather than the $74 billion reported by them as total revenue. And this total would be up 28% rather than the reported growth of 22% for the company.

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