Technology

Amazon added over 200,000 third-party sellers in 2020

More than 200,000 businesses started selling their products on Amazon during 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic drew in-store shopping to a near halt.

That figure marked a 45 percent increase in sign-ups compared to the year prior, according to an Amazon report on small and medium businesses released Tuesday.

There are now roughly 2 million sellers worldwide on the platform, according to the company’s vice president of customer trust, Dharmesh Mehta.

“They have an opportunity to establish their brands, grow their sales and create great jobs,” he told The Hill in an interview. “Sellers account for roughly 60 percent of sales in our store and in many ways our success depends on their success.”

The report released Tuesday also revealed that more than 65,000 out of the roughly 500,000 sellers in the U.S. made over $100,000 in sales over the 12-month period ending this September.

Amazon also touted its product delivery service, Fulfillment by Amazon, claiming that shipping costs are 30 percent lower on average for sellers using it over other providers.

“We made a bunch of investments in increasing fulfillment capacity and transportation, and as costs continued to rise we actually held back on a bunch of those costs on behalf of our sellers,” Mehta said. 

The release of the new small and medium business report comes amid growing scrutiny of Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers.

Two reports were released last week undermining Amazon’s stated position that it does not use data from third-party sellers to design its products or prioritize them in search.

The first, in Reuters, uncovered thousands of internal emails, strategy plans and business plans showing the e-commerce giant ran a coordinated campaign to create knockoffs and prioritize them on the platform in India.

The Markup also released an analysis of common searches that found Amazon placing its products ahead of those of competitors even when their rivals had higher customer ratings or more sales.

Members of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust Monday sent a letter to Amazon pressing the company on these revelations, which the company has denied.

The bipartisan representatives noted that an Amazon executive said that Amazon does not use third-party “[seller] data when we’re making decisions to launch private brands” during sworn testimony.

The Wall Street Journal also reported last spring that Amazon had previously taken sensitive business data from third-party sellers to optimize their own competing products.

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