Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is continuing to reshape the retail industry in profound ways, with many concerned across the U.S that the company will soon dominating the retail sector to the point that other businesses in the industry, both large and small, will be forced out. This is the worst case scenario of what many have already deemed the “Amazon effect”–that is, the impact that the e-commerce giant has had on the retail industry.
Retail industry losses caused by Amazon are nothing new. The Amazon effect has already eaten into holiday sales, mall foot traffic, and more traditional industry mainstays overall. Hundreds of retail brick-and-mortar locations have closed, with thousands of people being left without work.
And Americans have noticed. A recent poll found that 64% of Americans fear that the tech behemoth will force out other businesses in the retail industry due to its continuously growing market share.
The latest threat comes by way of “Amazon Go,” the company’s first foray into automated grocers. The company recently opened the store after a year of delays, but the response so far is positive. The store has no human cashiers, instead allowing consumers to pay via app and simply walk out with whatever goods they want.
With millions of cashiers working in the U.S., should automation begin replacing them, that would add a large number of people to the unemployment pool.
The Amazon effect is also by no means limited to cashiers. Other jobs, like delivery positions, are also under threat due to the company’s focus on drones to help it fulfill its shipments.
Overall, while the Amazon effect is creating some jobs at the tech company, overall the effect has been a drain on total employment. Not to mention that many of the jobs created by Amazon are higher-skilled positions compared to the low-skill jobs they are eliminating, meaning that the people affected won’t likely be able to be fill in those new jobs.
“Americans Concerned Amazon Will Run Out Businesses,” Rasmussen Reports, January 24, 2018.