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The “Share of Noise”

Are we, as an industry, talking about Amazon too much?

I saw this post on LinkedIn the other day from Kroger and I was curious, is 300K followers a lot? it sounds like it. But it is?

The quick answer is no, not even close. Walgreens has 420K, Target has 1.3M, Walmart has 3.2M and Amazon has over 19M followers on LinkedIn! Wait……….. What!?

So welcome to this week’s rabbit hole, the ‘Share of Noise’.  This article will be exploring the relative ‘noise’ in the marketplace about certain retailers as compared to how ‘big’ they are (i.e. sales volume) to see if the noise is justified.

For this particular ‘analysis’ 5 retailers were chosen then we dove deep into the numbers and utilized a bastardized “BCG Matrix” to present the findings.   Any guesses which retailers the different plot points are above?

(the answer is at the end  – I challenge you not to jump there now)

First, we will focus on and look at the X-Axis (Share of Sales) in the 2 by 2 “BCG Matrix” above. According to Kantar total US retail sales in 2020 was $4.04 trillion. Below are the sales of our sample of retailers which represents $872.8B or ~20%.

 2020 Sales
Walmart $409B
Amazon $156B
Kroger $122B
Walgreens $105B
Target $ 82B

Next, looking at the Y-Axis (Share of Noise) on the two by two matrix.  Three metrics were utilized to determine “noise”. 

  1. RetailWit Articles (proxy for media coverage)
  2. Social “Followers” (proxy for interest)
  3. Search (proxy for total content)
  1. On RetailWit the algorithms tag and type every single article.  Currently there are  ~11,000 articles in the database.  Of those ~1,100 contain the Amazon tag so 10% of the content features Amazon.

*Apparently we are part of the problem.

Note: The rest of the 'analysis' (term used lightly) is done exclusively based on the sum total of our 5 focus retailers.

2. We utilized social media ‘followers’ as a proxy for the general interest in the different retailers.  We used a combination of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.  These findings are not overly surprising that both Amazon and Target are ‘overachievers’ relative to their sales. 

3. Lastly, we looked at Google Search results. There were some extreme results here. Amazon had 3.7T results, you read that right: Trillion! Walmart had 348M. Target had a strong showing here as well with over 1.7T.  Poor Kroger and Walgreens were barely a blip.

Now, bringing it all together, it is pretty obvious who is ‘outkicking their coverage’ on Noise over Sales. The clear ‘winner’ here is Amazon but a very strong showing from Target as well.

…. and finally bringing back the 2 by 2 Matrix.  Did you guess right?

Final Thoughts:  These results are not accidental, as seen below Amazon employs an army of PR agents and continuously floods the market with Amazon News. Once again, it shows that Amazon is playing chess while the others are playing checkers. 

But, honestly,  it may not be so much that Amazon is outkicking their coverage as it is the other retailers, particularly Walmart, are under achieving it — except Target, they seem to have really ‘earned’ their Noise vs. bought it.  The question is how and why.  Our POV is Target has a very strong brand, dynamic leadership and great shopping experience that gives the industry and ‘guests’ something to talk about. 


Thanks again for reading, we appreciate hearing your thoughts, comments or challenges or, as always, we would love to hear from you.  Email us at admin@retailwit.com or comment below. 

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