As the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon’s influence spreads across every continent on Earth (except Antarctica, obviously). The smiling A is home to millions of sellers and hundreds of millions of customers across 20 countries.
According to the stats, Amazon has 2 to 3 million small to medium-sized registered third-party sellers. Add these figures to the growth of the platform and its easy local sellers expanding into foreign Amazon marketplaces in the near future.
Amazon sellers who are knowledgeable about international selling and expansionism and have clear advantage over their competitors and are able to determine:
But first, a quick look at the current list of global Amazon marketplaces.
Note: Amazon China (amazon.cn) is only open to Chinese sellers.
Amazon operates 20 global marketplaces allowing third-party sellers to list and sell products online. These marketplaces are clumped together into 4 main regions: The Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East.
Every year or so, Amazon enters a new region offering local merchants the chance to engage in global selling.
Here’s a quick rundown of each marketplace.
Note: The traffic figures for each marketplace are estimates.
The North-American Amazon region consists of The United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. A seller central account created in any one of these countries is automatically upgraded to an Amazon Unified Account.
An Amazon Unified Account allows users to switch between different North American marketplaces, list products, and manage inventory within the same region. For example, creating an account on Amazon.com lets you do business in Canada, Mexico, and Brazil without having to open an individual account in each marketplace.
Operational since 1995, Amazon.com is the company’s first and largest online marketplace. It features some of the biggest eCommerce brands and boasts a staggering 2.7 billion monthly visits. Sellers within this market have to contend with highly competitive product categories. But with high competition, comes high demand and the opportunity to make massive revenues, if you play your cards right.
Amazon US is the largest global Amazon store making it ideal for sellers with big pockets to set up eCommerce stores with the potential of exceeding $100,000+ in monthly revenues.
Pro tip: New to Amazon and need a quick and reliable online selling crash course for free? Check out this how to sell on Amazon guide.
A neighbor to the US market, Amazon Canada and was founded in 2002 and has 180 million monthly website visits. The marketplace features low-competition product niches and is the place to go for sellers on a tight budget.
Canada’s also a safe bet for US sellers who want to know how international expansion works and avoid saturated and budget-intensive marketplaces like the UK or Germany. Unlike France or Italy where you’ll have to invest in product listing translation services, Amazon Canada’s customer base is English speaking and shares purchasing habits with the average US buyer.
With around 135k monthly visits, Amazon.mx is a fledgling compared to the US and CA Amazon marketplaces. A small seller pool size and monthly visitor count means that most categories are open for sellers to establish a foothold in today.
But before you dive straight into it, know that there’s a language barrier you may need to overcome. Around 94% of the total population speaks Spanish only so you may need to hire a professional translator to make your products appealing to local audiences.
Amazon Brazil experienced a rapid growth spurt due to the pandemic and is now the biggest eCommerce player in South America. Although still small compared to Amazon’s other marketplaces, the country’s population is around 212 million and is projected to net $47.27 billion in eCom revenue by the end of 2022.
As a North American Amazon seller who is considering selling internationally, keep an eye on Amazon.com.br. If the marketplace continues to grow, you could consider setting base in the region before your competitors enter the fray.
Europe is the second largest Amazon region and creating a seller account—and by extension, an Amazon Unified Account—in any EU country lets you sell in markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Turkey.
Expanding to Europe is seen as the next logical step for sellers whose influence has spread throughout NA. But even if you haven’t expanded to Canada, Mexico, or Brazil yet, selling in the EU has its benefits e.g. capitalizing EU-centric holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Carnival/Mardi Gras.
Many people mistakenly assume Amazon UK to be the largest European whereas Amazon Germany takes the number one spot. In fact, Amazon.de comes second only to the US and sees a whopping 480 million visits on desktop and mobile each month.
The German market attracts both new sellers and mid-tier businesses seeking to expand into sizable markets. It lacks the hyper-competitiveness of Amazon US but features high demand across popular product categories.
Amazon UK is the third-largest Amazon market globally and was launched alongside Germany in 1998. It’s a good place to expand to or start selling in mainly because of an English-speaking audience and shared consumer preferences as the US (similar to Amazon.ca).
The monthly traffic figures are slightly lower than Amazon Germany but what works in the US will most likely work in the UK as well (due to similar brands in both regions), making it a good entry point into Europe.
Before you proceed, please note the following post-Brexit changes:
Amazon France is another marketplace that ballooned during the lockdown—28%, to be precise. During that time, sales reached $8.4 billion dollars and today, the eCommerce juggernaut ranks as the third-largest Amazon market in Europe.
If you’re planning to sell a product in France, know that all product packaging and detail pages must be in French. Providing a localized shopping experience is a prerequisite to success in this European marketplace.
After Germany, UK, and France, the rest of the European marketplaces are relatively smaller in size. Amazon Italy (founded in 2010), for example, averages around 190 million monthly visitors. Similar to other non-English Amazon marketplaces, selling in Italy requires brand owners to translate their product listings into the local language.
One thing that sets Amazon Italy apart from other EU markets is the “Made in Italy” storefront solely dedicated to products manufactured in the country.
Here’s a fact you may find interesting: 71% of Italian consumers have recently changed their shopping habits and now prefer to test out new and cheaper products as opposed to big brands. Going by this trend, if you’re interested in selling on Amazon Italy, you could start by researching the viability of low-priced products, particularly those that fall within the Small and Light product category.
Amazon.es is counted among the smaller EU marketplaces and requires sellers to go through a difficult VAT registration process. Expanding to Amazon Spain isn’t really recommended unless you sell products within the Fashion category which happens to be popular in the region.
The Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden are ‘baby’ marketplaces that are barely 3 years old. They’re still competing with popular local eCommerce rivals like bol.com (in the Netherlands) and Allegro (in Poland) and have yet to come out as the dominant player in the regional scene.
Sellers interested in ‘micro-launches’, i.e. products that require minimal budget to launch and rank on Amazon can consider entering or selling in this region.
Trends common among all 3 marketplaces include:
Note: Amazon Netherlands was launched back in 2014 but was only used to sell eBooks. In March 2020, it evolved into a full-fledged Amazon marketplace.
Before Amazon popped onto the scene, Souq.com was the main eCommerce hub in the region. After acquiring it in 2017, Amazon created the United Arab Emirates (amazon.ae), then Saudi Arabia (amazon.sa), and Egypt (amazon.eg) marketplaces.
Despite being an Arab-speaking nation, sellers can create product listings in English without the need for translation services. If you sell luxury products then Amazon.ae will be right up your alley. That’s because a large segment of the population can afford (and likes) to purchase luxury goods.
Much like the UAE, Saudi Arabia is also going through a growth spurt with increasing monthly sales and traffic figures. Also like the UAE, you can list products in English but it’s recommended to create Arabic product detail pages to provide a more localized experience.
Sellers that did business on Souq.com were allowed to sell on Amazon Egypt and Saudi Arabic using their Souq.com login credentials.
When it comes to the consumer side of things, the average Egyptian buyer doesn’t have the same purchasing power as those in SA and UAE, meaning that you can enter the marketplace even if you don’t sell luxury products.
As with every Middle Eastern marketplace, Egypt is small and currently competing with other eCommerce marketplaces. However, given the influence and global brand image of Amazon, expect to see more visitors flocking to your storefront in the future.
The Asia Pacific region consists of emerging marketplaces, each with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.
Japan may appear to be small on the world map, but looks can be deceiving; it’s the third-largest economy on Earth with around 91 million eCommerce customers and 2.2 trillion yen in revenues.
A few things to keep in mind though: the Japanese culture is quite different from the US and buyers are accustomed to high-quality products (and high-quality customer support services as well!).
Entering into the market requires sellers to implement quality control measures, hire local translation service providers, and understand buyers’ psyche. But don’t let this deter you from targeting Japanese buyers—the above-mentioned barriers to entry mean that not everyone is clamoring to sell on Amazon Japanese, which is precisely why you should apply today and start making your brand popular among the masses!
For more details on how to sell on Amazon Japan, check out this handy guide!
Another huge marketplace that flies under sellers’ radar is Amazon India. Home to 1.4 billion people, this growing marketplace faces a major competitor in Flipkart, but despite that fact, has around 300 million people coming through its virtual doors each month.
According to research, India will soon surpass China as the most populous country on Earth. As urbanization and internet penetration continue to rise, you can expect the marketplace to grow as a whole. Fortunately, the website is in English, so you won’t have to pay for translation services.
That being said, expect to engage in costly ad campaigns when selling in popular product categories like Consumer Electronics, Clothing, and Baby Items.
There was a lot of buzz when Amazon launched its Australian marketplace back in 2017. As a result, foreign Chinese and US sellers were quick to set up their product listings in an attempt to balloon their customer base down under.
Today, you’ll find a mix of sellers (including Australian) spread across product categories boasting medium demand and medium to low competition.
If you’re thinking of taking your business to another region, Australia is a good candidate because:
Expanding to Amazon Australia is a sound business strategy if you have a long-term goal in mind. Occupy relevant product niches now and expect sales to rise in the near future.
Yes, you can sell on multiple Amazon marketplaces simultaneously. For example, if you own a store on Amazon US, you can market and sell your products in other North American marketplaces like Canada and Mexico as well. But new marketplaces come with new challenges, so do your due diligence before taking your business abroad.
Amazon offers sellers the opportunity to target and sell their products to millions of customers across the globe. You’ve already learned about unified Amazon accounts within the North American and European regions. But what if you manage and run a store in the US and want to sell in Europe without creating a new account? Is that possible and legal?
The short answer is yes. Under the Amazon Global Selling program, sellers can merge two Unified selling accounts and run their international store from a single dashboard.
Some brand owners prefer not to merge separate accounts to reduce risk. If, for example, an Amazon brand owner maintains separate accounts for the US and EU, then in case one account gets suspended, the business would still be up and running in the other region.
However, merging seller central accounts has an obvious cost cutting advantage. If you were to merge a US and EU account, Amazon would only charge you $39.99 per month (for the Professional selling plan), regardless of how many marketplaces you sell in instead of $39.99 for the US plus €39 for Europe.
Keep these pros and cons in mind when merging separate accounts because these mergers are permanent and cannot be undone.
International selling is attractive—it feels like a step-up, a progression in your Amazon journey where you expand your influence and attract new buyers. But before you dive in, understand the implications that come with setting up your store on foreign lands.
There’s a time and place for everything and expanding your Amazon store is no exception. If the demand for your product(s) is dying or there’s no room for further sales, consider expanding your product line instead of targeting a new marketplace.
A single strategy is unlikely to produce the same results in two different regions. If you sell just one or two products, try adding more products to your store and engage in brand building efforts. You could also consider marketing products outside of Amazon e.g. run social media campaigns.
New marketplaces come with a unique set of challenges, as the following points will explain.
Consumer behavior varies according to the country/marketplace. Some audiences have more in common e.g. US and Canadian buyers. But if you plan on expanding from the US into Japan, you’ll have to change the way you interact with buyers (based on what the local audience finds appealing and/or appropriate).
This may include hiring local translation services or virtual assistants/marketing agencies who know how to advertise products and maximize sales.
Are your products equally or more popular abroad as they are at home? Even before you begin to determine viability, you should check out whether you’re allowed to sell your product or not. The list of restricted products and product categories varies according to the marketplace.
Only and only if your product is legal to import and sell in the country should you consider expanding to the new marketplace.
Pro tip: Read up on seller feedback reviews—know what buyers want and don’t want in a product by studying your competitors. Selling a superior product pays dividends in the long run.
Amazon is expected to open new marketplaces in the coming years, offering sellers the opportunity to expand their customer base and grow their store. But to sell in a new marketplace, you need information like product demand, average monthly revenues, average monthly sales volume, and more.
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