Research Preview: Investigating the appeal of Amazon Business

Amazon Business is going to be big, that's an undisputed fact. To gauge just how big and important it might become, Martin Wilde Associates (MWA) and OPI have teamed up once again for a new research study - Piranha Business - which examines the e


Back in the summer of 2014, OPI and MWA published Swimming with Piranha, a market research report that investigated the use of Amazon for office products purchasing by B2B buyers in the US and the UK. The study detailed some significant findings about the true extent of Amazon’s penetration into the B2B OP market and why these end-users chose to purchase from the company.

The picture looks somewhat different now. Launched in the spring of 2015, Amazon Business is a B2B portal that offers – among other things – “hundreds of millions” of products, business-only pricing on select items, quantity discounts and multi-user business account administration allowing integration with third-party procurement solutions. By November 2016, Amazon Business was already reported to have reached sales of $1.9 billion and to be achieving growth of 20% month on month.

Given that Amazon is looking to roll out its B2B model in other countries – Amazon Business kicked off in Germany last December – it only increases the need for OP suppliers globally to gain an up-to-date understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities being posed by Amazon Business.

Gauging the impact

Piranha Business will feature the results of 400 in-depth interviews with B2B buyers – from micro to large corporate companies – in the US that have purchased any type of business supplies from Amazon Business in the past year. Survey participants will be asked a series of questions about why – and how – they purchase business supplies from the e-tailer. These include: 

  • What is the demographic profile of Amazon Business customers?
  • What business supplies product categories do they buy overall, and what product categories do they buy from Amazon Business?
  • What share of their overall business supplies do they now buy from Amazon Business, and is this increasing? 
  • Which other types of office products supplier do respondents still use?
  • Why have respondents chosen to buy from Amazon Business, and what are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
  • What do respondents think about the quality of Amazon Business’s customer and after-sales service?
  • How important are commercial visits by suppliers to respondents?
  • How frequently do respondents place an order with Amazon Business and what is their average order value? 
  • What kind of delivery service do respondents require from Amazon Business? How important is ‘free delivery’ and how often do they qualify for it?
  • Are respondents happy to buy from third party suppliers via Amazon Business and to receive their order in several separate consignments?
  • What are their usage and perceptions of the Amazon Basics brand against manufacturer brands and other own brands? Are there any product categories in which they would not like to buy this brand?
  • What is the respondents’ anticipated future use of Amazon Business? Would they ever go back to using a conventional OP supplier and what would persuade them to do so?

Piranha Business – which will also include a summary of the key research findings and conclusions – will be published in June/July 2017. A $500 discount is available on the price of the report (the non-discounted price is $3,750/€3,500) for orders placed before 14 April 2017. Visit