Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. The US-based giant reported total UK revenues of £20.64bn ($26.48bn) in 2020, but gross merchandise volume for the site is considerably higher when third party sales marketplace sales are taken into account.
The company is known for its technology investment, making decisions on long-term potential and market share gains. Its fulfilment offer, product innovation and customer experience remain key differentiators for the business.
Alongside its first-party retail activities, Amazon generates revenue from third party seller services, subscription services, advertising and AWS.
In June 2017 it made the significant acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain, in a move to strengthen its presence in food retailing. Grocery is a key expansion category for the retailer, with new formats such as Amazon Grocery and the development of Just Walk Out Technology. The UK has taken on a lead role for grocery development in Europe and in March 2021 the first Amazon Fresh contactless grocery store opened in west London.
Amazon’s group sales stood at $386.06bn (£300.94bn) in 2020. Operating income jumped 77% to $22.9bn (£17.8bn) driven by high customer demand, a strong volume of new Prime sign-ups and increased efficiency of its logistics operations. The company expanded its logistics square footage by 50% during the year and reached a 50:50 split between first and third party units sold.
The company is known for prioritising long-term investment in scale over short-term profit, but has improved its margins significantly over the past couple of years.
In the second half of 2021 Jeff Bezos transitioned from CEO to executive chairman, as Andy Jassy stepped into the CEO role.
In the UK Amazon appointed former vice president of its European fashion division John Boumphrey to lead its UK business in November 2020.
Innovation rating: 4.5