Despite fake reviews, China-based merchants make up 50 percent of all Amazon sellers
Amazon is the largest and most efficient direct-to-consumer vehicle for Chinese brands to target U.S. and European consumers.
“Made in China” is a phrase with which all U.S. consumers are intimately familiar.
In past decades, that term referred to major branded products sold at U.S. stores manufactured by factories located in China. For example, a Matchbox car bought from Toys “R” Us and made in China by Mattel. Today, U.S. consumers are increasingly purchasing Chinese-branded products from Chinese stores directly over the internet, and both Beijing and the world’s largest online retailer—Amazon.com—have been facilitating that trend.
Half of Amazon Sellers Based in China
On Amazon, 50 percent of all global sellers are based in China, according to data from Marketplace Pulse, a website that provides e-commerce market data. Those sellers store their goods and products in the United States at Amazon’s warehouses, so the items are shipped domestically and qualify for fast “Prime” shipping—also dubbed as the “Fulfillment by Amazon” program.
Chinese sellers make up the highest percentage of all sellers on Amazon.es, the company’s Spanish retail website, at 64 percent. More than 50 percent of Amazon’s French, Canadian, and Italian sites are Chinese sellers, highlighting a dearth of domestic e-commerce companies within those countries. Amazon’s U.S. website is made up of 44 percent Chinese sellers, meaning the majority of sellers on the U.S. website are based in the United States—for now.
But the U.S. trend is also shifting. More than 60 percent of new sellers on Amazon’s U.S. website in January 2021 were from China, compared to less than 40 percent in January 2020, according to Marketplace Pulse data. Globally, China’s share of new sellers is even higher, 75 percent, for Amazon’s websites as a whole.
While these raw numbers could be skewed because some sellers maintain multiple selling accounts, the directional trend is clear: Amazon is the largest and most efficient direct-to-consumer vehicle for Chinese brands to target U.S. and European consumers. And China is the world’s biggest factory and arguably has the highest e-commerce adoption. On paper, it shouldn’t be shocking that many products on Amazon are from China.
But there’s a transparency concern. Since the sellers all market their products on Amazon’s local e-commerce websites, consumers may be unaware that they’re purchasing their products directly from Chinese stores.
BY FAN YU