Online retail (also known as e-commerce) is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the United States. Companies involved in e-commerce such as Amazon and Apple, are among the largest companies in the world based on both sales as well as revenues. According to records shown on Statista, an online-based research company, Amazon, Apple, Dell, and Walmart are the largest online retailers in the United States.
Amazon is a public company whose core business is online shopping. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the United States with the company generating $92.4 billion sales in 2015. Amazon was founded in July 1994 by Jeff Bezos as Cadabra Inc. but was later changed to Amazon and went online in 1995. Amazon was originally involved in book sales and operated as an online bookstore but later incorporated online sales of other commodities. Amazon is among the largest employers in the United States, with the online retailer directly employing 180,000 individuals in the US in 2016. In recent years, Amazon is getting more involved in physical retailing, through acquisitions of major brick-and-mortar retailers including the impending $13.4 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, an American supermarket chain. The success of Amazon in the e-commerce space has made its founder, and current Chairman Jeff Bezos to become one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Apple is the second-largest online retailer in the United States, with the company generating about $24.4 billion in sales in 2015. Apple was founded in April 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. While the core business of Apple remains to be the production of electronic gadgets and computers, the company realized great success in the online retailing industry. Most of the commodities sold at Apple retail stores are Apple products which the company has no problem selling due to its brand loyalty (Apple is considered the most valuable brand in the world). Apple is one of the biggest employers, with the company having about 116,000 employees. The company’s e-commerce platform has been posting increased sales each year, with sales estimates growing by as much as 20% each year.
Another key player in the online retail space in the United States is Dell. The company which is well known for the manufacture of computers and computer software is also one of the largest online retailers in the United States. Dell made sales of about $15.7 billion in 2015, the third highest of any online retailer in the country. The online division of Dell was established to supplement the existing mail order sales.
Walmart is a top online retailer in the United States and is currently the largest company in the world by revenue, with records from Fortune Global 500 showing the company having a revenue of $480 billion in 2016. Although Walmart is popular for its brick-and-mortar retail chains which are located all over the United States, the company also has a division which is involved in online retail. The division in charge of Walmart’s online retail business is known as Global E-commerce which is based in San Francisco, California but with other locations including Portland, San Bruno, and Brisbane. The company managed to generate $13.7 billion in sales. Founded by Sam Walton in 1961, Walmart was incorporated as a company on October 31st, 1969.
Future Of E-commerce
Many companies have realized that e-commerce is the next frontier and is quickly overshadowing the traditional brick-and-mortar retail shops. Companies such as Walmart have learned of this fact and are diversifying to online retail.