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Amazon Tops Wal-Mart: Mobile Revenue 15X Greater

Written by Evan Schuman
October 5th, 2011

Newly released mobile-commerce sales figures from major retail chains show a stunning difference in success, with the largest M-Commerce retailer—Amazon—making more than 15 times as much as the next largest M-Commerce revenue retailer: Wal-Mart. M-Commerce revenue plunged after that, with Amazon, for example, making 156 times more M-Commerce revenue than Home Depot.

Part of the explanation is that retailers, in general, are doing quite poorly in M-Commerce sales. A new extensive ranking of the 300 largest M-Commerce companies—sequenced by M-Commerce revenue—shows only two retailers in the top 10 list.

The $2 billion Amazon is projected to make via transactions made by consumer phones is a non-trivial figure, given its $34.2 billion in global revenue of all types. But note how quickly the numbers drop with its rivals. Wal-Mart, the only other retailer to make the overall top 10, appeared at slot 4 with $127.7 million. The third largest retailer—Staples—comes in at a projected $45.3 million this year, followed by Best Buy ($37.9 million), Macy’s ($33.2 million), Buy.com ($32.5 million), Foot Locker ($32 million), Sears ($31.7 million) and Overstock ($31.6 million).

Home Depot, which blows away all of those chains (except Wal-Mart) in full revenue, is the 17th largest M-Commerce retail player with only $12.8 million for this year.

This new list comes from our friends at InternetRetailer and is called, logically enough, the Mobile Commerce Top 300, and it’s the first time such a list has been compiled publicly.

Delving behind the revenue stats reveals several hints as to where the M-Commerce weaknesses and strengths lie. Amazon’s mobile site, for example, saw 14.6 million unique visitors with a 2.4 percent conversion rate. Wal-Mart saw just 4 million uniques and a 2 percent conversion rate. For comparison, Home Depot’s mobile site saw only 721,000 unique visitors and its conversion rate was 0.8 percent, literally one-third of the conversion rate from Amazon. The UK chain Marks & Spencer, which came in at slot 28 on the overall list and was the 14th largest M-Commerce retailer, had an unusually high 3.2 percent conversion rate.

These figures may mean less than it seems. Consumers might be accessing the retailers’ sites to find a store (in which case, the revenue would surface as in-store dollars) or to do basic research, with an intent to buy from a desktop later because it’s easier to type in payment-card data (in which case sales would appear as E-Commerce revenue).

With more functionality and stronger mobile devices coming, the ability to drive sales consummated right there on the subway, in the car or on the beach from a mobile unit will become more crucial. For now, though, as long as phones are driving in any way, it’s good—even though it may be very hard to prove. M-Commerce investments just became that much more difficult to sell—and even more essential to get.

The Top 25 Largest Retailers By M-Commerce Sales

  1. Amazon $2 billion
  2. Wal-Mart $127.7 million
  3. Staples $45.3 million
  4. Best Buy $37.9 million
  5. Macy’s $33.2 million
  6. Buy.com $32.5 million
  7. Foot Locker $32 million
  8. Sears $31.7 million
  9. Overstock $31.6 million
  10. Victoria’s Secret $29.9 million
  11. Costco $29.6 million
  12. J.C. Penney $26.2 million
  13. BarnesandNoble $24.3 million
  14. Marks & Spencer $24.1 million
  15. Target $22.6 million
  16. Kohl’s $21.9 million
  17. Carrefour $18.4 million
  18. Tesco $16.9 million
  19. Toys R Us $16.7 million
  20. Walgreen $15.8 million
  21. Nordstrom $13.8 million
  22. LLBean $12.9 million
  23. Office Depot $12.8 million
  24. Home Depot $12.8 million
  25. Gap $12.8 million

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