retail news in context, analysis with attitude

National Public Radio has a piece about its new NPR/Marist poll saying that “close to two-thirds of Americans now say they've bought something on Amazon … That is 92 percent of America's online shoppers — which is to say, almost all of them.”

In addition, the story says, “More than 40 percent say they buy something on Amazon once a month or more often. In fact, when people shop online, they're most likely to start on Amazon … The NPR/Marist poll found that among Americans, roughly 75 million online shoppers pay for Prime - plus another 35 million use someone else's account. Put together, almost two-thirds of American online shoppers are living inside the Amazon retail universe.”

Amazon also scores high when it comes to trust: “ The NPR/Marist survey found a staggering 67 percent of American online shoppers say they have ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ of trust in Amazon to protect their privacy and personal information, even though the majority of them had little to no such confidence in online retailers in general.”

Still, NPR reports, it is important to remember that “only about a 10th of all our shopping dollars are spent over the Internet.”
KC's View:
The NPR analysis makes the point that while some folks argue that Amazon is becoming too big and too powerful, relatively few consumers call for any sort of antitrust investigation or breakup of the company because Amazon is seen as overwhelmingly positive for consumers. And Amazon itself points out that it accounts “for less than 1 percent of worldwide retail” and that there is "incredible competition" in all of its businesses.

I think that argument is largely a fair one - I’ve written here from time to time that a resurgent online profile for Walmart actually is good news for Amazon because it may keep non-politically motivated antitrust regulators at bay.

It all comes back to the ecosystem that Amazon is creating, which makes it an incredibly and almost unprecedentedly powerful competitor. Here’s how NPR sums it up: “It’s much more than an online store. It makes movies and TV shows, has a massive cloud data-storage business where it keeps information from the government and numerous other companies, runs the Whole Foods grocery chain, offers people Internet-connected door locks, and makes the popular Alexa smart speaker.”

Amazon is a habit. Here’s a little test: Try to remember the last day when you did not have some sort of interaction with Amazon.

I can’t remember one. And the only other company I can say that about is Apple.