Amazon Q1 2013 Results Preview and fulfilment News Roundup

April 23, 2013

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Amazon reports its Q1 2013 results after the bell this week on Thursday, April 25th 2013.  eBay and Google had mixed results, both citing non-domestic slowness as key headwinds and mobile/US as key tailwinds.

The following table details the usual key metrics we track in Amazon’s results for sellers/retailers that we think most illustrate how not only Amazon is doing, but most importantly for readers of this blog, the health of the third-party (3P) marketplace.

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Out of all these metrics, what I look at most closely to get a pulse on the Amazon marketplace:

  • 3P unit growth -Q4 was 40% y/y growth which will be hard to maintain given the EU malaise and the bad Feb weather.  I imagine this will come down a bit in Q1.
  • % of units from 3P – Q4 was 39% 3P units.  Amazon has been shifting substantially from 1P to 3P, so we look to see that trend continue.
  • Active users – eBay has seen acceleration on this metric due to mobile.  It will be interesting to see if Amazon sees this as well.  Q4 grew at a 22% y/y clip, we will see if Amazon can keep up this pace, or if it accelerates or decelerates.

What else to look for?

Additionally, we will be keen to hear anything about:

  • Any Prime/Fire updates – Prime is the turbo-booster of Amazon and we’re always keen to see if there are any interesting new tidbits that Amazon shares.  The Kindle Fire family of devices include a 30-day Prime trial and we suspect a good up-take from that offering which accelerates the Amazon flywheel, so we’ll be listening closely to any new information there.

 

Amazon fulfilment centre news

In Q4, we introduced our Amazon fulfilment centre tracker which we will be updating after earnings.  While we’ll be listening for any FC news, we noted the following announcements in the Q:

  • Jan 8 – Amazon announced plans to open a FC in Robbinsville, NJ.  This is set to open in early 2014 and cost $200m to build.  They also refer to it as Phase I…
  • Jan 22 – Amazon announces third California FC, this one will be in Tracy (outside SFO)
  • Feb 1 – IND6 – Jeffersonville, IN Amazon did a ribbon cutting of an already open FC.
  • March 25 – CAE2 – Amazon opens the large item centre near Spartanburg, SC  This news site has some great raw footage and outtakes that are a good watch if you are a true Amazon Geek.  This FC employs 400 people and has an interesting mezzanine/multi-levels.  Fun game – see if you can spot a kayak!  This facility ramped much faster than other non-sortables due to the great people of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!)
  • April 5 – SDF8/BNA3– Held an official ribbon cutting for the 1m sq-ft Murfreesboro, TN facility (employs 1100)  This one appears to have a fashion/photography section which is interesting (see pics below for examples – first time I’ve seen this out in the wild).

As you can see most of these seem to be local news stories geared towards recruiting new associates to work in the FCs and get the word out on the contribution to the local economies.

At the Spartanburg ceremony, Amazon’s VP of FC, Mike Roth, hinted they aren’t slowing down on FC growth:

“We are constantly looking at our nationwide topology,” Roth said. “I can’t give precise locations of the next couple of buildings we plan to build, but there will be continued expansion in the future.”

Stay tuned

As usual, we’ll be posting our analysis of the results shortly after they are posted.

BONUS: Amazon FC Pictures for you while you wait.

Here are some highlights from the above mentioned ribbon cuttings to give you something to ponder while we wait for Amazon to report:

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Written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor.  eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor.