Amazon Eyes Physical Stores While Walmart Doubles Down On Digital



April 2, 2021


In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said, “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat.” Although that was written 2,500 years ago, it is still relevant in 2021, amid the unprecedentedly tight market share battle that Amazon and Walmart are waging.


While the world’s largest online retailer and the owner of the world’s largest string of retail stores have been battling each other for years, new research by PYMNTS has revealed that as the two titans wrapped up the fourth quarter and full year, the race has never been closer by at least one major metric: share of total U.S. retail spending.


With each combatant currently claiming just over 9 percent of the domestic pie, the dead heat marks the culmination of years of ascent for the online upstart from Seattle, versus years of treading water by the one-time undisputed heavyweight champ from Arkansas.


That topline tie is significant, because it makes the seven category battles beneath it that much more important. As the attached PYMNTS Whole Paycheck Tracker Report shows, the latest tally has Amazon ahead in four categories and Walmart leading in three. In each instance where Amazon is ahead, it typically got there by slowly and steadily chipping away at Walmart’s lead with its ever-growing digital business.


To that point, if the fight were only about digital dominance, there would not be much to talk about, given that Amazon’s total share of online sales is north of 50 percent and its share in several categories ranges from 30 to 40 percent...


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