US: Bezos says “Third-party sellers are kicking our first party butt”

Jeff Bezos knows there are powerful Washington politicians who consider his digital commerce platform a monopoly and so wants them to know that Amazon is getting trounced by third-party sellers on its platform, reported GeekWire.

According to the Washington Post, that is the takeaway from the Amazon CEO and founder’s new letter to shareholders, released Thursday morning, April 11, along with the company’s proxy statement. It’s an annual tradition that this year seems directed as much to would-be antitrust regulators as it is to the company’s investors.

Bezos starts the letter with a two-decade chronology showing of the share of physical gross merchandise sales on Amazon by third-party sellers, a.k.a. the Amazon Marketplace business that is one of the targets of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to break up big tech companies. That share of sales has risen from 3% in 1999 to 58% in 2018, Bezos writes in the letter.

“To put it bluntly: Third-party sellers are kicking our first party butt. Badly,” he writes. “And it’s a high bar too because our first-party business has grown dramatically over that period, from $1.6 billion in 1999 to $117 billion this past year.”

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