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Amazon stomps Walmart to become the largest retailer outside of China

COVID likely had a lot to do with Amazon’s huge jump in revenue.

Amazon logo with crown
Image: KnowTechie

For more than 30 years, Walmart has been the king of retail sales outside of China. But the day has finally come for the king to be dethroned. Boosted by the pandemic, Amazon has officially taken over as the largest retailer in the world outside of China.

According to a new report from The New York Times, Amazon’s customers spent more in a 12-month period than Walmart customers spent over the same 12 months. Surprisingly, this is the first time that this has happened. Walmart has been around since the 1960s and has perfected the logistics of big-box retail all over the world. The company has been sitting comfortably atop the retail throne until now.

Wall Street researchers determined the amount of money that customers have spent at either retailer over a 12 month period ending in June of this year. For Walmart, the number was easy, as most of its revenue can be directly tracked to sales from the business’s inventory. Amazon’s numbers are a little more difficult to calculate.

COVID-19 helped Amazon’s sales numbers skyrocket

Because of the popularity of third-party sellers on Amazon, it can be tricky to come up with actual sales numbers across the platform as a whole. Amazon only discloses the fees that it gets from third-party sales, and not the full sales numbers themselves. Still, researchers were able to analyze the company’s financial statements to come up with an accurate number.

The results? Amazon wins, with $610 billion in sales, and Walmart with $566 billion. Researchers had predicted this would happen in the near future, they just didn’t expect it to happen now. The overtake can likely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Amazon’s sales went up a whopping $200 billion year over year. Walmart saw an increase of around $24 billion over the same time period.

This isn’t really too surprising, considering the circumstances and the rise in popularity of online shopping. Amazon was in the right place at the right time during the online shopping surge, and it has positioned itself as one of the world leaders in that category.

In America, 41 cents of every dollar spent online is spent at Amazon. With that kind of market power, Amazon is set to be the new retail leader for a long time.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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