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The New York Times reports this morning that "Amazon has eclipsed Walmart to become the world’s largest retail seller outside China." according to estimates compiled by financial research firm FactSet.  The Times writes that "Wall Street firms had been expecting this retail baton to change hands in the coming years. But the pandemic accelerated the timeline, as people stuck at home relied on deliveries. Walmart’s sales rose sharply during the pandemic, but it has not matched Amazon, which has added hundreds of new warehouses and hired about 500,000 workers since the start of last year."

The story notes that "Alibaba, the giant online Chinese retailer, is the world’s top seller. Neither Amazon nor Walmart is a dominant player in China."

The Times also points out that "Walmart is still the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.6 million workers. And it sells more in the United States than Amazon, though J.P. Morgan estimates that Amazon will surpass Walmart in the United States next year."

More from the Times story:  "The quest to dominate today’s retail environment is being won on the internet. And no company has taken better advantage of that than Amazon. Indeed, the company’s delivery (many items land on doorsteps in a day or two) and wide selection first drew customers to online shopping, and it has kept them buying more there ever since."

KC's View:

Tom Furphy has been making this prediction for years in our Innovation Conversations, though he's modest about it - it is, he says, "simple math."

But there's no question that this is a major sea change, one that will be repeated next year when Amazon takes the US crown.

All this just heightens the scrutiny of Amazon, however, and so the company may see this as a mixed blessing.  I'm not surprised that Amazon has not commented on this research … better to keep its head down and continue to innovate.