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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After conquering e-commerce and cloud computing, Amazon is claiming its spot at the very top of the massive shipping industry this holiday season.

Why it matters: Logistics might make your eyes glaze over, but it's one of the key businesses of the future — and it could become Amazon's next windfall. The industry is already worth $1.5 trillion, and it'll get even bigger as more and more people order everything online.

By the numbers: Cyber Monday was Amazon's highest volume shopping day ever. And Americans will spend a record $135 billion online in November and December, Spencer Soper writes in Bloomberg's tech newsletter today.

What's happening: Amazon is already the leading shipper of its own packages (delivering about 48% of them). The tech giant is adding vans, jets, workers and warehouses to become an even more formidable shipper.

Amazon's rise is putting legacy shippers at risk. After brushing off the e-commerce giant as a competitor for years, FedEx CEO Fred Smith called it a threat this year.

  • The two companies have cut ties. FedEx chose not to renew its ground and air delivery contracts with Amazon.
  • And just this week, Amazon — which is consumers' most-trusted brand to deliver their holiday gifts in time — is banning its third-party sellers from using FedEx for ground deliveries. It's effectively a no-confidence vote in FedEx, writes Soper.
  • FedEx reported weaker-than-expected earnings this week and revised its 2020 earnings outlook down. The stock is down around 10% today.

The stakes: Amazon is already the subject of antitrust investigations in the U.S. and Europe, and its shipping prowess could strengthen opponents' arguments.

  • "Given its scale & dominance of this market, Amazon is essentially operating as a regulator of shipping companies," notes Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit research and advocacy group that opposes concentrated economic power.

Go deeper

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

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