Amazon has quietly built a $10 billion platform selling goods to businesses

Amazon said on Tuesday that its specialist business supplies sales portal has now hit $10 billion in annual sales.

Founded in 2015, Amazon Business functions just like regular Amazon but is specialised to suit the needs of businesses, offering things like separate VAT pricing and receipts.

It’s the first time Amazon has published global numbers for Amazon Business. The company said it now has millions of customers for the service and hundreds of thousands of vendors on the marketplace.

Bill Burkland, UK head of Amazon Business, told Business Insider: “To have launched a business in April 2015 in the US and just over three years later to announce $10 billion in annualized sales is certainly a reflection that this is a big and fast-growing business.”

Bill Burkland, UK Head of Amazon Business.

Amazon Business currently operates eight marketplaces in countries such as the USA, Japan, Germany, and the UK. These marketplaces ship products to businesses in over 70 countries.

The service launched in France, Italy, and Spain this year and Burkland said international expansion was helping to fuel Amazon Business’s growth, which is accelerating.

“We’ve also launched some interesting features that we can see businesses are finding of value,” Burkland said. “One of those is catalogue curation, which allows a customer to take the 250 million products that are in the Amazon business catalogue and it allows them to create preferred sellers, for example, they can restrict products, they can set policies that allow them to ensure that they’ll get a downloadable VAT invoice.”

Burkland said the most popular products on Amazon Business are “things like PC and computer peripherals, office products, janitorial products, things of that nature that really are used across all businesses.”

He added: “One of the reasons that businesses are finding Amazon Business valuable is that breadth of selection. Just about anything that may come up as a need for a business and that’s whether you’re a construction company or a manufacturer or a legal firm or high tech — we have the breadth.”

50% of sales on Amazon Business come from third parties selling on the platform and Burkland said it allows smaller suppliers access to big businesses they otherwise wouldn’t be able to transact with. Amazon said on Tuesday that 50% of FTSE 100 companies are now using its platform, for example.

“The business community can reach a set of customers that would be very difficult to reach outside of a marketplace like Amazon Business,” Burkland said.

“Just to bring that home, if you think about the type of businesses that Amazon Business sells to — the FTSE 100 companies — those are often very difficult for a smaller seller to be able to sell to. Amazon Business is a channel that allows them to reach those types of customers.”

Burkland declined to talk about Amazon’s specific future plans for Amazon Business but said: “What you can count on are the major themes that we have focused on for the first three years, we’ll continue to focus on for the immediate and distant futures.

“Those fall around continuing to drive innovation and roll out new features, it involves building our selection, continuing focus on bringing in new products and adding depth to the categories that we sell in.”

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