Amazon shipped 5bn items in 2014, with 40% from third-party sellers

Amazon shipped about 5bn items in 2014, the company has revealed, with more than 40% of those products sold by third-party sellers on its service.

The company famously prefers not to release too many hard figures on its business, so its claim that worldwide, third-party sellers sold more than 2bn items in 2014 will be seized upon by rivals and analysts alike.

Those two billion items came from more than two million sellers “that account for over 40 percent of the total units sold on Amazon,” the company said.

Although it didn’t provide an explicit figure for overall shipments, those stats mean that around five billion items were sold on Amazon in 2014.

“It’s been a record-setting year for selling on Amazon. We’re seeing strong growth from sellers listing their items across our global marketplaces,” said Peter Faricy, who heads up Amazon’s third-party selling operation.

“In fact, there are now more than a billion offers for customers to browse from sellers who are listing items for sale outside their home country.”
Amazon has previously often preferred to give out statistics referring to its growth, rather than specific sales figures. That extends to its digital media business: for example, its claim that in 2014 it “tripled” its video streaming traffic, without revealing the old or new figures.

At times, this policy has been taken to almost absurd levels, as when the chief executive, Jeff Bezos, launched the Kindle Fire HD tablet in front of a graph of books sold which had no units and no y-axis.

It demonstrated that the company’s Kindle sales had overtaken physical book sales, while divulging precisely nothing about the level of either.

The company gave one other hard figure in its 2014 end-of-year round-up: the success of its Cyber Monday promotions, when more than 16 million items were ordered from third-party sellers, three times the average daily total of 5.5m.

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