In the news, Amazon is making headlines for trying to purchase Wholefoods. But they have their hands in tons of other arenas, seemingly branching out into not only groceries, but home service support, cloud services, video streaming and much more. I don’t hear many private citizens complaining though, the complaining seems to be only in the media. No one I know, or even casually know on social media, is concerned about Amazon’s growing dominance.
Conversely, I recall that 10+ years ago lots of everyday people (and the media) were up in arms about Walmart getting to big, saying they were undercutting other local businesses. In several cases, towns were trying to stop future Walmart stores being built in their jurisdictions. People have argued that most of their product offerings were made in sweatshops in China using forced labor, and therefore they were not only selling second rate products that would not last long, but also propagating sweatshops in China. There is some evidence to support that claim, and although it’s hard to find anything beyond a couple instances, it still could point to a systemic problem.
Amazon is bigger than Walmart ever was and sells many products from China, but no citizen outrage. I think this is for many reasons. First, because Amazon does not have many physical stores and you can’t tangibly see their footprint, they only exist in your computer. Second, because Walmart got type-cast as “easy to hate” almost a quasi-political movement. Third, because we have come to rely on Amazon so thoroughly, we enjoy each new service they bring and we want to see more of it and are unconcerned if no one else can come close to competing because the prices are pretty low. And fourth, as to the sweatshop argument that people make about Walmart, it could be said that Amazon is only allowing sellers to sell their goods and cannot be held liable for how those products are manufactured. They get the pass because they are in many cases only the middle-man.
If Amazon does cut out all serious competition, will their prices necessarily rise and will people begin to turn on them? Time will tell on this one. They have marketed themselves very well and it would take a lot to turn public perception against them.