Jungle Scout released the 2023 edition of its annual State of the Seller report, and I wanted to take a few minutes to review some of the most important points it makes about what sellers are challenged on this year, and moves they’re making, and other interesting stats.
You can download your copy (free) in PDF format to follow along here. Here are some of my notes. The data came from 2,600 Amazon sellers, 715 of which are classified as small and medium businesses: businesses that make no more than US $2,000,000 in revenue per year.
This is the review of the 2023 edition of the report. For the 2022 edition, check out the links below.
By the Numbers
It’s no secret that third-party sellers make up many product sources on the Amazon Marketplace. More specifically, in 2023, 70% of SMBs selling products on Amazon did so as third-party sellers (meaning they sold their goods via Seller Central), while 30% sold first-party directly to Amazon (through Vendor Central), and 7% did both. In the 2022 State of the Seller report, Jungle Scout reported that 3,700 new businesses join the Amazon Marketplaces daily. The 2023 report does not have a number for that statistic.
Goals for 2023
Compared to 2022, the focus on 2023 wasn’t so much expanding product lines, but expanding business coverage in general. The State of the Seller report mentions that 52% of polled SMBs said they are looking to expand their e-commerce footprint to other channels, including Shopify, Walmart, etc. Additionally, 50% of SMBs said they were looking to expand to new global markets, a change from 25% from 2022.
Of the alternative retail platforms measured, interest in a few stood out compared to the year prior. Alibaba and AliExpress jumped 158% and 175% respectively, while interest in selling using Shopify increased just 6% and eBay decreased 14% year-over-year.
Beyond expansion, respondants said they’re looking to work more with social media influencers and focus on their brands, while doing more proactive research into their competition.
The annual survey amassed a wide variety of participants from more than 20 countries. 55% of those surveyed were from the United States, 7% from the United Kingdom, and 6% from canada. India, Pakistan, China, Italy, Mexico, and Nigeria rounded out the next 11%, while all other countries represent just 1% of the polling population.
On the education front, a whopping 80% held some sort of post-secondary school education. As we’ve seen mentioned in a lot of areas talking about getting started selling on Amazon, it’s not uncommon for folks to hold some kind of job while also honing their e-commerce craft. A full 50% of participants in the State of the Seller report had a day job. 76% of those worked full time, while 24% worked part time. 35% of folks considered themselves to be self-employed.
There are several different types of Amazon businesses, and we see them all represented this year. (Note: these numbers will add up to more than 100%) 54% are creating their own product and brand, and 75% are reselling other brands (combining wholesale, retail arbitrage, and online arbitrage).
These number imply that some Amazon sellers are overlapping categories. Based on what I’ve seen historically, I imagine there’s a lot of overlap with the arbitrage sub-categories.
To the surprise of no one, Amazon FBA is in used by 86% of sellers, while self-fulfillment sits at a still-significant 37%. 22% of sellers utilize both.
Looking at the movements to the marketplaces Amazon sellers are gravitating, the United States (.com) marketplace saw a small decline of 3% year over year, while the U.K., Mexico, Australia, France, and Italy all saw double-digit growth.
Across the board we saw a substantial increase in product category popularity. I won’t spoil all of the numbers but the summary is that most categories saw population increases, while only a few decreased. This tells me that most surveyed sellers broadended their product base, perhaps from just one category to multiple categories.
One of the categories that saw a slight downtrend is Books. Courses and masterclasses on book flipping are as prolific now as ever, but because of the ubiquitous nature of that niche and the readily available information and resources surrounding it, it’s not surprising that sellers are looking at moving on to other pastures.
It’s also no surprise that the vast majority of products originate from China. The People’s Republic produced 28% of the world’s stuff in 2021, and making things accounts for 30% of China’s economic output.
That said, The State of the Seller report saw a 3% decline in products sourced from China, while the United States climbed heartily from 26% in 2022 to 33% in 2023. The pandemic saw a renewed push for goods made in America, and some saw the increased drive a few years before that, though it remains to be seen if the western world can dethrone China and other Asian countries as the origine primaire for products sold on Amazon and other online marketplaces.
Just a handful of sellers reported selling hundreds or thousands of products. The vast majority of sellers sell just a handful of unique items. The average price for products is below $50, too, further enshrining the relevancy of listicles featuring dozens of products you have to have from Amazon for under some amount of money.
Sales and Revenue
There’s a lot of interesting data in this section of the report, and I don’t want to spoil it all, but there are a couple of interesting points I think are worth sharing. Namely, 56% of sellers reported having $10,000 or less in sales per month (we can envision gross profit to be anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, realistically). Tangentially, only 8% of SMB sellers reported not being able to turn a profit. Enterprise-level sellers had a much better time turning larger profit margins.
An oddity in the profit statistics is the lack of mention of the average duration of “lifetime” in lifetime profits. 47% of SMB sellers reported over $100,000 in lifetime profits, but that might mean very little if the “lifetime” average is something like 10 years, for example.
Read the Rest of the Report
Jungle Scout spends a lot of time putting together this report, and I’d be doing them a disservice if I rehashed the entire thing for you, here. Download your free copy of the 2023 State of the Seller Report in PDF format here.
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