Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Walmart vs. Amazon: Who Wins the Retail Future?

The following graphic from Minyanville illustrates how the shift in retail to online sales affects employment and commercial construction.   Amazon generates 1/12 the sales of Walmart and has 1/60 the number of employees.  Even if one assumes that subcontractors and delivery firms employ one person for every person employed by Amazon, the Amazon retail model requires fewer employees than Walmarts.

As far as real estate, the difference is obvious.   Amazon needs only its distribution centers.   Walmart needs both distribution centers and retail stores.   Amazon's model requires lower capital requirements to build selling space than Walmart, reducing construction spending as compared with the traditional retail model.  Amazon's model also moves jobs away from communities that are close to the ultimate consumers to the distribution locations that are further away. 

Walmart is trying to replicate Amazon's model and grow its on-line sales as brick and mortar sales stagnate.  Still as the chart at the bottom of the graphic shows, Amazon may eclipse Walmart's sales by the middle of the next decade.
Walmart Vs. Amazon2
Via: Online MBA

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