Oh, Amazon. Is there any part of life that Amazon hasn’t taken over? Long gone are the days of Jeff Bezos walking books from his garage to the mailbox; Amazon has become virtually synonymous with online shopping and e-commerce.
And Minneapolis now has it’s own Amazon tech office to solidify the relationship.
To understand Amazon’s impact today, we have to take a look at the future. A recent report from Minneapolis financial services firm Piper Jaffray listed Amazon as the favorite website of teens (Gen Z) who now outnumber Millenial buyers by around 1 million.
Thus, as reported by CNBC,
“Piper Jaffray estimated Amazon’s soft line dollars grew from $12.4 billion to $21.7 billion between 2014 and 2016, representing 56 percent of overall softline industry growth.”
Amazon Prime memberships have been a huge factor in this, as the same report estimated 69 million households enjoy the benefits of a Prime membership, fueled by teens who, with the disposable income pre-adult life allows, have no qualms paying for a monthly membership.
Of course, this won’t help the continued trend of brick-and-mortar shutdowns. Sears and Macy’s join mall stalwarts such as Wet Seal, Aeropostale, et al in closing stores across the country or folding completely.
(Although, with a certain sense of irony certainly not lost on those stores Amazon has cannibalized, Amazon has opened three physical bookstores, in Seattle, San Diego, and Portland, with five more planned around the country)
But it’s all about giving the customer what they want. For now, that appears to be Amazon.
Amazon’s digital presence continues to expand. The rapid expansion of Amazon into almost every piece of our homes has drawn criticism, and accusations from multiple sources of anti-competitive/monopolistic behavior.
Amazon is at the forefront of a grand “Internet of Things” scheme; their “Dash Replenishment Service” is now live, for example, and the prospect of all your products simply reordering themselves (more on that ominous possibility here) is nigh. There will be no human interaction needed for you to get products shipped to your front door.
(This has drawn further criticism; the New Yorker, for example, worries that Amazon’s ubiquity and artificial intelligence will lead to a Skynet-style takeover of humanity. Read more: The Horror of Amazon’s New Dash Button)
But with its Fulfillment Center/warehouse in Shakopee hiring 1,000 new employees this year, and a tech headquarters now 6-months old at the 5th Street Towers in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, it looks like our relationship with the company is only going to grow.