Walmart’s surging e-commerce division grows 41% in Q3, amid online retail battle with Amazon

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Walmart’s e-commerce business grew 41 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, continuing the rapid rise of the division amid a retail battle with Amazon.

Walmart doesn’t break out revenue from e-commerce, so it’s impossible to know how big of a part of the overall business the division has become. Walmart reported $128 billion in total revenue for the third quarter, up 2.5 percent year-over-year and short of Wall Street expectations.

Walmart did top expectations for profits with earnings per share of $1.16. Walmart stock is up approximately 3 percent in pre-market trading Thursday.

A year ago, Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 43 percent, per CNBC, and last quarter online retail rose 37 percent year-over-year. Walmart noted strong growth in online grocery shopping is powering the rise of its e-commerce business.

Amazon and Walmart have been one-upping each other in recent years as they compete for retail supremacy. Last month, Amazon dropped the monthly fee for its AmazonFresh grocery delivery business. The move undercut Walmart’s new grocery delivery subscription service, Delivery Unlimited. In September, Walmart expanded the program, which costs $12.95 per month, to 1,400 stores across 200 markets.

Walmart finished the quarter with grocery pickup at more than 3,000 locations and same-day delivery from 1,400 stores. Walmart launched InHome Delivery in three U.S. markets in the third quarter, rivaling Amazon’s own in-home delivery service.

Groceries represent an estimated $675 billion U.S. market that is increasingly going digital. Research firm eMarketer estimates that U.S. food and beverage e-commerce sales will grow 18.2 percent to nearly $20 billion this year, making it “the fastest-growing product category online.”

Amazon has taken the lead in online grocery sales but faces tough competition from traditional retailers like Walmart.

“Amazon is expected to own the largest market share of US food and beverage e-commerce sales in 2019 at 32.7%,” eMarketer said. “But Walmart, Target and Kroger are all leveraging their sizeable brick-and-mortar footprints and click-and-collect capabilities to aggressively ramp up their sales and challenge Amazon.”

Walmart inked some intriguing tech partnerships this quarter. It’s teaming up with with BuzzFeed’s Tasty app to launch “shoppable recipes” that let customers add recipe ingredients directly to online grocery carts for pickup or delivery. Walmart is collaborating with online bank Green Dot for a financial technology accelerator.

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