Is Amazon a Wholesaler Or Retailer? (All You Need To Know)

Amazon is one of the biggest retailers in the world, and it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t made at least one Amazon splurge in recent years. According to Forbes Magazine, Amazon is in the top four world’s most valuable brands.

So, you may be wondering if Amazon is a wholesaler or retailer. This thought popped into my head, too, so I did some research, and here’s what I learned!

Is Amazon a Wholesaler Or Retailer?

Technically, Amazon is a retailer, not a wholesaler. In fact, Amazon made over $386 billion in net U.S. sales in 2020, making it the country’s biggest retailer by e-commerce sales. Although Amazon doesn’t follow the traditional wholesale model and differs from competitors in its wholesale offerings, there are options to buy wholesale products through Amazon Business.

If you want to know more about Amazon’s retail success and how the company differs from wholesale competitors, keep reading my complete guide!

Does Amazon Do Wholesale?

Amazon is not an exclusive wholesaler, as the company is a huge retailer selling both its own items, like Kindle e-readers and Echo smart speakers, and millions of items from third-party sellers through Amazon Marketplace.

So, while Amazon wasn’t designed as a wholesale company, and retail remains its prime focus, the company’s rapid growth has enabled it to expand into the wholesale space.

Wholesale companies sell large quantities of goods at low prices, usually to retailers.

That said, Amazon has capitalized on this model and sells a wide range of products in bulk, creatively targeting wholesale clients without relying solely on this business model.

However, it may take some deeper digging to find wholesale goods on Amazon, but they’re available, especially from third-party sellers.

With that, many of these merchants sell larger quantities of office supplies, business equipment, or other in-demand items for a lower price than these products cost on their own.

For the best results shopping wholesale on Amazon, just type “wholesale” into the search bar and look for Marketplace sellers with affordable offerings.

Also, while Amazon didn’t originally design wholesale for businesses, anyone can buy bulk items on the general Amazon website.

What Is Amazon Business Wholesale?

Amazon Business is a dedicated purchasing platform for businesses with over five million companies enrolled worldwide.

That said, businesses get access to management tools and streamlined wholesale solutions as part of Amazon’s modern wholesale offering.

So, if you want to buy wholesale products for your business from your favorite online retailer, you can keep your personal and business Amazon accounts separate.

Additionally, this wholesale solution has quantity discounts and extensive selections exclusive to businesses.

Further, office supplies are the most common wholesale items available through Amazon Business, although there are many other retail products businesses can buy on this platform too.

Suppose you’re not a business owner and don’t need an Amazon Business account but still want to explore wholesale deals on Amazon.

In that case, you’re better off shopping on the regular site and buying from an Amazon Marketplace seller.

Why Doesn’t Amazon Do More Wholesale?

Why Doesn't Amazon Do More Wholesale?

While Amazon does offer wholesale options, it’s not the retailer’s main priority.

At the end of the day, the vast majority of Amazon’s revenue is generated through its standard retail, as it has the largest revenue of any internet company in the world.

As a global innovator, Amazon is constantly exploring new revenue streams and opportunities for growth.

So, while Amazon Business is part of its expanded efforts, it’s not the number one priority.

That’s why, if Amazon could only be described as one or the other, it’s definitely a retailer first and a wholesaler second.

With that, Amazon’s wholesale business is substantially smaller than the overall retail operations, and this doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

Additionally, even if you were to buy wholesale crafts supplies or office equipment from Amazon Marketplace, it would technically fall under a regular retail sale, further cementing Amazon’s position as a retailer.

What Are the Biggest U.S. Wholesalers?

Amazon is one of the biggest retailers in the U.S., but what about the largest wholesalers?

Not counting giant retailers like Amazon, America’s biggest wholesaler is food distribution company Sysco.

For example, with over 600,000 clients and popular tabletop and kitchen items, this wholesale distributor stocks local supermarkets, mass merchandisers, and even Amazon itself.

On top of that, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Michael’s are some of the other significant wholesalers in the U.S. market.

At these stores, you can buy bulk groceries, household goods, and art supplies both in-person and online.

Generally, these wholesalers have a better bulk selection at competitive prices than normal retailers.

However, Amazon does have an advantage in that it sells over 12 million items, many of them at wholesale prices or in bulk packages.

There’s also eBay, which has widely been referred to as one of Amazon’s top competitors.

That said, eBay has a huge wholesale inventory, but like Amazon, it doesn’t consider itself a wholesaler but rather an e-commerce platform.

To learn more, you can also see our posts on the biggest Amazon warehouses, what is Amazon Business Prime, and Amazon statistics & facts.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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