Jan 12, 2019

The next five years of Amazon

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For two decades, Amazon has grown like wildfire, eschewing profit, pouring all its revenue back into itself, and leaving a wake of destruction in retail. Now it's going in for the kill.

Amazon has launched more than 100 private-label products, by market research firm Gartner L2's count. “That’s going to be a major part of what we think of as the future of retail," says Donald Ngwe, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

  • The massive amounts of data Amazon has on its consumers give it unparalleled insights into what shoppers really want, says James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now advises brands that sell on the platform.
  • By selling more of its own products, Amazon is competing against the sellers on its own marketplace — and starting to catch the attention of regulators and anti-trust lawyers.

Physical stores: At the beginning of 2018, Amazon made waves with its announcement of "Go" — a cashierless convenience store. By the end of the year, it had opened six of them across the country, with plans for as many as 3,000 more by 2021.

  • Add those to Amazon's bookstores — 18 and counting — and "4-star" stores, where it sells goods that earned over 4 stars on its site.
  • Tack on the more than 450 Whole Foods stores that Amazon also owns plus its reported plans to open even more of them.
  • All told, the e-commerce giant is well on its way to establishing a brick-and-mortar presence in every major city in the country.

Amazon responded to this story:

“There is an important difference between horizontal breadth and vertical depth. We operate in a diverse range of businesses, from retail and entertainment to consumer electronics and technology services, and we have intense and well-established competition in each of these areas. Retail is our largest business and we represent less than 1% of global retail and around 4% of U.S. retail. In addition, Amazon’s private label products are less than 1% of our total sales. This is far less than other retailers, many of whom have private label products that represent 25% or more of their sales.”
— An Amazon spokesperson

Note: This story was updated on January 14 with a quote from an Amazon spokesperson.

Special report: The future of retail

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 900,000 and the global death toll surpassed 45,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 12,000 deaths.

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FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.