Cleveland Plain Dealer – December 3, 2016
by Janet H. Cho
Amazon.com‘s explosive growth and unprecedented dominance among American retailers is threatening small businesses and choking competition, warns the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in a just-released report.
Beyond the ubiquitous packages with the smiling arrows, Amazon.com is steadily expanding beyond e-commerce, playing an increasingly larger role in our daily transactions, and “extending its tentacles across our economy,” said ILSR, a national nonprofit research organization that supports strong local economies.
Half of U.S households subscribe to Amazon Prime, 55 percent of online searches start on Amazon.com, and nearly one out of every $2 spent online goes to Amazon, said Olivia LaVechhia, a research associate with ILSR.
“Amazon sells more books, toys, and by next year, apparel and consumer electronics than any retailer online or off, and is investing heavily in its grocery business. Its market power now rivals or exceeds that of Walmart, and it stands only to grow,” she said. “Within five years, one-fifth of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.”
ILSR’s report, entitled “Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities,” available at http://ilsr.org/amazon-stranglehold, says Amazon is reshaping the U.S. economy in ways that hurt small businesses, reduce jobs and wages, limit the choices and products available to consumers, and harm the economies of local communities.