The retail apocalypse is in full force in 2023 — and Amazon is only making it more deadly for many retailers. In recent years, the shopping behavior of consumers has dramatically changed. Nowadays, more and more people are entirely relying on the internet for any purchasing. And brick-and-mortar stores have been closing by the thousands as competition in the sector is getting tougher.
According to a Morgan Stanley analysis, Amazon accounts for almost a third of all retail sales and is responsible for half of the growth in the sector.
From household products to electronics, clothing, and groceries, everything is available on the platform, and that’s a huge advantage for the company. However, that is absolutely killing other brands that have been with us for decades, and many of them are at risk of going under this year amid a new wave of retail bankruptcies.
The megaretailer has been blamed for the downfall of major chains, forever changing the way we shop, and crushing millions of small businesses. But the truth is that the path to total Amazon domination is just beginning. One investment firm has even created a “Death by Amazon” index that tracks the stock prices of retail chains they believe are most threatened by the online retailer.
In 2017, the company at the top of the index was Toys R Us. Back then, the retailer was offering discounts to customers in an attempt to attract them back after Amazon made it all too easy to buy the hottest toys at the click of a button. But still, sales continued to decline by double digits, and in September of that year, the company filed for bankruptcy due to the $5 billion debt it had accrued.
Every year since then, the index has accurately forecasted which companies will be knocked down by Amazon, even predicting the demise of JPMorgan in 2020, and more recently, the collapse of Bed, Bath & Beyond. This year, many retail giants are reporting dropping sales, slower foot traffic, declining revenues, and announcing store closings. Hundreds of brick-and-mortar retailers are currently on Moody’s bankruptcy watchlist.
Blue Apron is one of them. Data shows that since Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Blue Apron has been hanging by a thread. Since 2021, the company is on a bankruptcy watchlist, and the non-essential service is likely to get hit hard as the downturn unfolds.
Macy’s is also seen as another potential victim of the ‘Amazon effect’ in 2023. The department store has been declining for a while, and Amazon’s growth has hastened its downfall. Hundreds of Macy’s stores have disappeared since the pandemic, sales are down, and the outlook remains discouraging for the retailer.
Retail experts suggest that the biggest bankruptcy of the year was also fueled by Amazon. For years, Bed Bath & Beyond was struggling with falling profits, and the home furnishing sector has been feeling the squeeze since the e-commerce company started offering free shipping to many shoppers. In April, the brand filed for bankruptcy and closed 360 stores nationwide.
All of this shows that the impact of the Amazon Effect has been undeniable. Amazon is putting its flag in the ground in one industry after another, cementing its role as the global leader in virtually everything.
Many companies are now gone, due in part to pressure from the online retailer that’s upended the American retail landscape. And if others figure out a solution fast, they might be the next stores destroyed by Amazon.
Article and video cross-posted from Epic Economist.