News | Published January 31 2020

Amazon’s Christmas sales rise as retail sector struggles

Amazon’s Christmas sales rose by 21 per cent compared to the previous year, despite the rest of the retail sector struggling over the festive period.

According to the Office for National Statistics, and as reported in The Parliamentary Review, total retail sales fell by 0.6 per cent in December, the fifth consecutive month in which retail sales failed to increase.

In the last three months of 2019, Amazon announced sales of £66 billion, a significantly higher figure than analysts had predicted.

Amazon’s success is symptomatic of the difficulty facing more traditional retailers. As the importance and popularity of online retail continues to grow, physical retailers are increasingly facing difficulties.

Last week, the Centre for Retail Research announced 10,000 jobs had already been lost from the retail sector since the start of 2020. Throughout 2019, 143,100 jobs were lost.

In contrast to the wider sector, who experienced their worst year since 1995, Amazon announced a profit of $3.3 billion, an increase from $3 billion last year. 

Amazon’s cloud computing arm, AWS, also announced improved performance, having increased their revenue by a third.

Across the UK retail sector more widely, sales fell by 0.1 per cent during 2019.

Amazon now accounts for 10 per cent of the e-commerce market globally, with this figure rising to 37 per cent in the US.

Perhaps ironically, considering the company’s central importance to the shift toward online shopping, Amazon is not immune to the effects of a struggling retail sector. Quarterly sales at its physical stores, including Whole Foods, declined by one per cent compared to 2018. 

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
January 31 2020

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