Amazon insists it's helping small retailers grow

The retail industry is still struggling to adjust to the digital era, but Amazon released new stats to argue it's helping SMBs

The future of retail is still very much in flux -- and several major retailers are still stumbling through their digital transformations -- but Amazon on Friday released some stats to suggest it's not the problem. If anything, Amazon seems to be saying, it's helping small and medium-sized retailers thrive.

Specifically, the e-commerce giant announced that in 2018, more than 50,000 SMBs exceeded $500,000 in sales in Amazon's stores worldwide. Nearly 200,000 surpassed $100,000 in sales, while the number of SMBs that surpassed $1 million in sales grew by 20 percent in 2018. On Prime Day, the company says, SMBs exceeded $1.5 billion in sales.

The data comes on the heels of the National Retail Federation's annual conference in New York City, where it became clear the industry has yet to find its footing in the digital age. And last week, retail stocks took a hit in the market after Macy's reported weaker-than-expected holiday sales.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are eagerly courting retailers that are undergoing digital transformations. The sector's aversion to Amazon has created a unique opportunity for its cloud competitors.