Retail Channels

Amazon will overtake Walmart as top US retailer by 2024, report says

A new report from Edge by Ascential says ecommerce will drive US retail growth in the coming years.

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Ecommerce is powering US retail growth.

That's the conclusion of a new report from Edge by Ascential.

Despite supply chain challenges, inflation and dips in top retailers' ecommerce sales as shoppers head back out to stores, the data and market research provider’s 2022 United States Retail Landscape and Go-to-Market Planning Report concludes that ecommerce will be the primary force in retail over the next several years.

“Inflationary pressures continue to cut into retailer margins, both in the US and abroad, while rising labor rates, increased material costs and higher fuel prices across all supply chains impact suppliers, retailers and consumers,” said Deren Baker, CEO, Edge by Ascential, in a statement. “Despite these challenges, data from Edge by Ascential shows that ecommerce will continue to be the largest driver of retail growth over the next few years in the US and worldwide.”

With this, the report makes a few projections:

  • Ecommerce will reach $1 trillion GMV in the US in 2022, up from $907.7 billion in 2021.
  • Amazon will overtake Walmart as the leading US retailer by 2024
  • Ecommerce will account for 30.5% of total retail sales by 2026, up from 24.6% in 2021.

Amazon keeps rising

When it comes to Amazon, the report projects that the ecommerce giant will add $294 billion in US sales between 2021 and 2026. By 2026, Edge by Ascential forecasts that Amazon will have 14.9% of US retail market share on its own.

“Amazon has always taken advantage of its head start as a digital-first platform and has been a pioneer of almost all the growth levers associated with platform-based retail from ‘subscribe and save’ through Prime membership to the evolving media and marketing services Amazon offers to brands,” Baker said. “Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise that by gross merchandise value (GMV) sales, our AI-powered forecasting software on Edge Retail Insight anticipates Amazon to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the US by 2024.”

With Amazon’s rise, the report projects that Walmart’s share of retail will be 12.7% by 2026, down from 13.1% in 2021. To be sure, Walmart will be working to change that dynamic. The company is making a big digital push and building out a fulfillment network that works together with its stores. Per the report, the other top retailers will be Costco (4.4% by 2026) and The Home Depot (3.9% share by 2026).

Grocery is gaining

The report also hones in on a growing area of ecommerce: Grocery. Online shopping initially keyed in on items that could be boxed up and shipped, but the rise of quick commerce services like Instacart and the adoption of curbside pickup and express delivery by major grocers in the pandemic has made online food shopping a a more viable option.

That's playing out in Edge by Ascential's numbers: In 2021, online edible grocery sales in the US – which refers to ambient, chilled, fresh and frozen food, soft drinks and alcohol – reached $54.8 billion, up 117% on 2019. About 50% of this category was attributed to Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco, as the larger retailers picked up ecommerce operations in the pandemic.

By 2026, Edge by Ascential forecasts online grocery to make up 8.8% of all ecommerce sales.

While these are projections, they collectively point to an important trend: The growth and influence that ecommerce gained in the pandemic will be with us going forward. Sales data and stock prices may tick up or down, but the ecommerce infrastructure that retailers introduced, advances in customer experience, and, most of all, the consumer comfort with shopping digitally – even if it means toggling between online and offline experiences – will still be there.

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