Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement for Amazon Sellers: Understanding and How to Calculate

As an Amazon seller, understanding your financial health is crucial to your business’s success. Profit and loss (P&L) calculations give you a clear picture of your business performance, highlighting areas of strength and those needing improvement. This step-by-step guide is designed to help Amazon sellers navigate the complexities of calculating their P&L, offering insights and strategies for optimizing profits.

Introduction to Profit and Loss Statements

A P&L statement, also known as an income statement, is a financial document that summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses incurred during a specific period. It helps sellers assess how much money the business is making, what it’s spending, and whether it’s profitable.

amazon profit and loss factors

Step 1: Understanding Amazon’s Fee Structure

Before diving into calculations, it’s essential to understand the fees Amazon charges its sellers. These include:

Amazon’s fee structure for sellers includes several components, each affecting the overall profitability. Here’s a more detailed look at each of the fees mentioned:

Referral Fees

  • Description: Amazon charges a referral fee for each item sold, which is a percentage of the total sales price (including the item price and any shipping or gift wrap charges).
  • Rate: The percentage varies by category but typically ranges from 6% to 45%, with most categories falling between 8% and 15%.
  • Categories with High Fees: Categories like Amazon Device Accessories can have referral fees as high as 45%, while others like Personal Computers cap at a lower rate (e.g., 6%).
  • Minimum Fee: There’s also a minimum referral fee for some categories, usually $0.30 per item, meaning you’ll pay this minimum amount if the percentage of the sales price is less than the minimum fee.

Fulfillment Fees

  • Description: For sellers using Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, fulfillment fees cover the cost of storing items in Amazon’s warehouse, packing, and shipping orders, as well as handling customer service and returns.
  • Rate: These fees are based on the product size and weight. For example, as of my last update, standard-size items could have fees ranging from around $2.50 for small, light items to over $5 for larger, heavier items. Oversized items could see even higher fees.
  • Special Handling: Certain items like apparel, shoes, or items requiring special handling or preparation may incur additional fees.

Monthly Subscription Fees

  • Description: Sellers have the option between a Professional account and an Individual account. The Professional account incurs a monthly subscription fee.
  • Rate: The fee for a Professional seller account is $39.99 per month, allowing unlimited sales without paying a per-item fee, which is beneficial for sellers with high sales volumes.
  • Individual Accounts: There’s no monthly fee for Individual accounts, but Amazon charges $0.99 per item sold plus the referral fees.

Storage Fees

  • Description: Amazon charges storage fees for inventory kept in their fulfillment centers, based on the volume (in cubic feet) that the inventory occupies.
  • Monthly Storage Fees: These fees vary seasonally, with higher rates typically charged during the peak holiday season (October to December). As of the last update, fees could be as low as $0.75 per cubic foot during off-peak months to $2.40 per cubic foot or more during peak months for standard-size items.
  • Long-Term Storage Fees: Inventory stored for over 365 days incurs an additional long-term storage fee, which is significantly higher, aiming to encourage sellers to keep only fast-moving items in Amazon’s inventory.

It’s crucial for Amazon sellers to keep up-to-date with the specific fees related to their product categories and fulfillment choices, as these fees can change. Amazon provides a Fee Schedule and a FBA Revenue Calculator that can help sellers estimate their fees and profit margins for specific items.

Step 2: Calculate Your Total Revenue

Total revenue is the sum of all sales income before any deductions. Calculate it by multiplying the number of units sold by the sale price of each unit.

Total Revenue = Number of Units Sold X Sale Price per Unit

Step 3: Determine Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

COGS includes all direct costs associated with producing and selling your products, such as purchasing costs, manufacturing, packaging, and shipping to Amazon’s warehouse.

COGS = Beginning Inventory + Purchases During Period – Ending Inventory

Step 4: Account for Amazon Fees

Subtract all relevant Amazon fees from your total revenue to get a clearer picture of your gross profit.

Gross Profit =Total Revenue – Amazon Fees – COGS

Step 5: Calculate Operational Expenses

Operational expenses are the costs associated with running your business that aren’t directly tied to the production of your product, including marketing, software subscriptions, and employee salaries.

Net Profit = Gross Profit – Operational Expenses

Step 6: Analyze Profit and Loss

With your net profit calculated, you can now analyze your P&L statement. This involves comparing your current figures to previous periods, budgeted amounts, or industry benchmarks to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.

a profit and loss (p&l) statement from Amazon
An example of P&L Statement; source:

Strategies for Improving Profit Margins

Improving profit margins on Amazon involves a multifaceted approach that targets different aspects of your business. Here’s a deeper dive into the strategies you mentioned, with added insights and practical tips:

1. Optimize Amazon Fees

Understanding Amazon’s Fee Structure: Amazon charges various fees, including referral fees, fulfillment fees, monthly subscription fees, and storage fees. Referral fees are a percentage of the sale price and vary by category. Fulfillment fees apply if you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and are based on the size and weight of your products. Monthly subscription fees are fixed for Professional sellers, and storage fees are based on the volume of space your inventory occupies in Amazon’s warehouses.

Strategies to Reduce Fees:

  • Improve Inventory Management: Use Amazon’s inventory management tools to forecast demand accurately and reduce overstocking, thereby avoiding long-term storage fees.
  • Select the Right Fulfillment Option: Compare the costs of FBA with Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) to see which is more cost-effective for your products.
  • Consider Product Bundling: Bundling products can reduce per-unit shipping and fulfillment costs, thereby lowering overall fees.

2. Increase Operational Efficiency

Automating Repetitive Tasks: Implement automation tools for tasks like inventory tracking, repricing, and customer communication to save time and reduce errors.

Negotiating with Suppliers: Build strong relationships with suppliers and negotiate for better rates or bulk purchase discounts. Even small reductions can add up over time.

Reducing Waste: Analyze your operations to identify areas of waste, such as excess packaging or inefficient shipping practices. Streamlining these areas can cut costs significantly.

3. Optimize Pricing Strategy

Competitive Pricing Tools: Utilize tools like Amazon’s repricer or third-party solutions to adjust your product prices in real-time based on market conditions and competitor pricing.

Dynamic Pricing Strategy: Consider implementing a dynamic pricing strategy that adjusts prices based on demand, inventory levels, and sales goals. This can help you maximize margins during high-demand periods.

Price Perception: Ensure your pricing strategy takes into account the perceived value of your products. Pricing too low might increase sales but can also reduce perceived quality.

4. Enhance Product Listings

High-Quality Images and Videos: Use professional-grade images and videos to showcase your products. High-quality visual content can significantly improve click-through and conversion rates.

SEO-Optimized Product Titles and Descriptions: Incorporate relevant keywords in your product titles and descriptions to improve visibility in Amazon search results. However, ensure the text remains clear and customer-focused.

Utilize A+ Content: For brands on Amazon, A+ Content allows you to enhance your product descriptions with detailed descriptions, charts, and high-quality images. This can improve customer engagement and conversion rates.

Leverage Customer Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. High ratings and reviews can significantly influence buying decisions and enhance your product’s visibility.

Implementing these strategies requires a careful balance between reducing costs and maintaining the quality and competitiveness of your offerings. Continuously monitor your performance metrics on Amazon to identify what works best for your specific products and market niche.

Let’s Understand Through An Example

1. Gather your sales and expense data. This includes all revenue from sales, as well as any direct and indirect costs associated with those sales. Direct costs are expenses that are directly tied to a specific sale, such as the cost of the product itself or the cost of shipping. Indirect costs, on the other hand, are expenses that are not tied to a specific sale, such as the cost of advertising or salaries for employees.

2. Calculate your gross profit. To do this, subtract your direct costs from your total revenue. For example, if you had total revenue of $10,000 and direct costs of $5,000, your gross profit would be $5,000.

3. Calculate your net profit. To do this, subtract your indirect costs from your gross profit. Continuing the example from step 2, if you had indirect costs of $2,000, your net profit would be $3,000.

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4. Calculate your profit margin. This is a measure of how much profit you are making as a percentage of your revenue. To calculate it, divide your net profit by your total revenue and multiply by 100. In the example above, with a net profit of $3,000 and total revenue of $10,000, your profit margin would be 30%.

5. Analyze your P&L data. Once you have calculated your P&L, it is important to analyze the data to identify areas where you can improve your profitability. For example, you may want to look at your direct and indirect costs to see if there are any expenses that can be reduced or eliminated. You may also want to look at your pricing strategy to see if there are opportunities to increase your prices without losing sales.

Overall, calculating your P&L as an Amazon seller is a crucial part of managing your business and ensuring its financial health. By regularly tracking your sales, costs, and profits, you can make informed decisions that will help your business grow and thrive.


Calculating profit and loss is an integral part of running a successful Amazon business. It not only helps you track your financial performance but also informs strategic decisions that can enhance profitability. By following this guide, you can better understand your business’s financial health and take actionable steps towards improving your profit margins. Remember, the key to success on Amazon lies not just in selling but in selling smartly and profitably.