Amazon Expected to Pass Walmart as the Largest U.S. Retailer by 2024

Edge by Ascential report predicts Costco will grow its share, too, to become No. 3
walmart vs. amazon
Image: Shutterstock

With e-commerce fueling retail growth, Edge by Ascential is predicting that Amazon will overtake Walmart to become the largest retailer in the U.S. by 2024 and add more than $294 billion in U.S. sales between 2021 and 2026. The e-commerce provider is also predicting Costco will grow its share to become the third-largest retailer by 2026.

The findings come from Edge by Ascential’s 2022 United States Retail Landscape and Go-to-Market Planning Report, which found U.S. online sales in 2021 grew 15.2% to reach $907.7 billion vs. $787 billion in 2020. As such, Edge by Ascential anticipates e-commerce will account for 30.5% of total U.S. retail sales by 2026, up from 24.6% in 2021, and will be the world’s biggest e-commerce market after China.

All of this is in spite of the numerous trials and tribulations retailers currently are facing. “Inflationary pressures continue to cut into retailer margins, both in the U.S. and abroad, while rising labor rates, increased material costs and higher fuel prices across all supply chains impact suppliers, retailers and consumers,” said Deren Baker, CEO of Edge by Ascential. “Despite these challenges, data from Edge by Ascential shows that e-commerce will continue to be the largest driver of retail growth over the next few years in the U.S. and worldwide.”

By 2026, Edge by Ascential predicts Amazon will hold 14.9% of retail market share in the U.S., with Walmart’s share shrink to 12.7% from 13.2% in 2021. Costco—which has maintained growth during these inflationary times, recording a comp-sales increase of 14.9% for its fiscal third quarter—is expected to increase its market share from 3.8% in 2021 to 4.4% by 2026.

Meanwhile, Amazon has been growing its Fresh brand as well as its e-grocery revenue. (E-grocery sales for Amazon, including Whole Foods, totaled $40.6 billion since January 2020 to Walmart's $22.5 billion, according to Pettinato.)

“Amazon has always taken advantage of its head start as a digital-first platform and has been a pioneer of almost all the growth levers associated with platform-based retail from ‘subscribe and save’ through Prime membership to the evolving media and marketing services Amazon offers to brands,” Baker said. “Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise that by gross merchandise value (GMV) sales, our AI-powered forecasting software on Edge Retail Insight anticipates Amazon to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the U.S. by 2024.”

Online grocery is also growing its share among e-commerce sales. Edge by Ascential reported that in 2021, online edible grocery sales (ambient, chilled, fresh and frozen food, soft drinks and alcohol) in the U.S. reached $54.8 billion, up 117% on 2019. And so by 2026, the company forecasts online edible grocery to make up 8.8% of all e-commerce sales.

As of 2021, Edge by Ascential said, online edible grocery penetration in the U.S. stood at 6.5%, with about 50% of that attributed to Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco.




More from our partners