Amazon, perhaps the world’s largest online retailer and by some estimates the world’s largest retailer period, has had something of a complicated past. Starting out as a simple online bookstore, it has since expanded beyond books and is now a global commerce titan that in many ways have managed to overtake even widely despised yet widely shopped at retail titan Wal-Mart and its subsidiaries regarding sales. Millions of people across the globe have come to rely on Amazon being the easiest way for them to get an increasing number of entertainment products, as well as daily essentials such as toothpaste, dietary supplements, electronics, car accessories, non-perishable food, toys for children and adults alike, kitchen appliances and a rapidly growing number of digital products.
Growth has not always been easy in the company, and the company has attracted its share of controversy over a wide range of business practices. While it has not yet become as poorly regarded as its brick and mortar retail powerhouse rival Wal-Mart, the company has caused a great stir in its twenty-three year existence, but no controversy seems to be enough to be able to shut down the world’s largest online retailer entirely. Too many people find it easy and convenient to order what they need from Amazon rather than scour the internet or even more painfully, scour their local area for the product they need. In many areas across Amazon’s markets, many niche products are only available online, with Amazon being something of a one stop shop for all but the most obscure products.
However, Amazon is a truly global retailer and has markets across the globe. Though its North American markets which are talked about on this website and are its best known in the English-speaking world, it none the less does business in a slowly but steadily increasing number of countries. Sometimes this is easier than others, with some markets being more and less complicated to pierce, while others are easy enough to get into, but have since caused other problems for the company once the localized website was established, distribution networks were established and the full range of offices, warehouses and shipping concerns all primed and ready to go.
Amazon has localized websites, websites with national domain registrations focused on that nation’s business, in some countries across the globe. Thanks to the continent’s massive network of highways and centuries-old communications and transportation networks, Amazon does the most business in North America, particularly the United States, but the company was also fast to set up localized versions of their business in Mexico and Canada. In Europe, Amazon is aiming for the German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, United Kingdom and Irish markets. In Asia, Amazon has websites focused on the Indian, Japanese and Chinese markets, as well as websites geared towards the Australian and Brazilian markets.
This international expansion is not always without its headaches, but of the five countries where Amazon is most popular are the United States, Mexico, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. These five markets have generated around 72 billion USD in sales in 2015, and as Amazon expands into other, more potentially lucrative markets, these numbers are poised to rise. Growth in the non-North American markets has been somewhat slow, and not always without due cause. Germany, Amazon’s fourth largest market, was the site of an intense worker’s strike that all but crippled the company for months on end in 2013. The damage to the public perception of Amazon by these strikes has continued to hinder the German markets for the company, though it continues to be a lucrative source of income for the company.
However, the three North American countries where Amazon does business are its three largest markets. Easy exchange rates and favorable government regulation towards online businesses have made the United States Amazon’s biggest markets and the company has even begun to invest in its truck branding for shipping their goods across the nation’s vast system of highways. Amazon has practically become a part of United States culture, and many citizens of the nation treat Amazon as a household name. The neighboring nations of Mexico and Canada also benefit from the ease of overland transportation in those nations and have also contributed a great deal to Amazon’s bottom line. The similarities of culture and history between these three nations have also made translating the company’s business practices to localized markets easier to manage as well. However, like all their international markets, fluctuations in the value of currencies, as well as differing practices in government regulation of online commerce, has taken a bite out of Amazon’s profits in these markets as well.
Overseas markets beyond North America have been a bit difficult as well. Germany is Amazon’s fourth largest market despite the disaster that was the Verdi labor union strikes, and while Amazon denies most of the claims made against it, public perception in the German market remains a bit bleak. The United Kingdom recently overtook the Japanese market, which had fallen in recent years, for the fifth place spot. Business complications in other markets have also hindered Amazon’s growth overseas. In the theoretically vast Chinese market, a local competitor in Alibaba which is a China-based company that competes in Amazon’s market share, seems to be taking business from Amazon, a fact not helped by the Chinese government’s ideas about foreign businesses on their soil. India is a promising new market, however, and many feel that the company’s new Indian site may be their fastest growing yet.