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.