Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka Bulks Up, Aims at Amazon, eBay

walmartWal-Mart is the world’s biggest retailer, but online, it’s still a relative piker. Now the company is trying to change that by opening up its Web store to other retailers–just as its biggest competitors already do.

Wal-Mart is adding three outsiders to its sales mix, which it says will add an additional one million items to its inventory, and the company plans to add more in the future. Is this a problem for either Amazon (AMZN), which features some third-party sales, or eBay (EBAY), which offers nothing but?

Maybe one day, but not in the near future. That’s primarily because Wal-Mart is so far behind the big guys. The $1.7 billion Wal-Mart did in Web sales last year makes it the 13th biggest online store in the U.S. Chart via JP Morgan’s Imran Khan:


And even if Wal-Mart’s new partners do boost sales significantly, the ecommerce market is likely to grow even faster. Bernstein analyst Jeffrey Lindsay expects U.S. online retail to grow by $13 billion in 2010 and another $19 billion in 2011. So don’t expect to see Wal-Mart’s Web foes wiping their brows just yet.

[Image credit: PinkMoose]

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work