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20 Facts About Amazon's Business That Are Downright Scary

It’s been 23 years since Amazon first opened its online doors to booklovers everywhere. Little did the world know at the time that they were shopping at a place that would also one day sell souls. Well, that hasn’t quite happened yet. But with the rate of Amazon’s growth and domination combined with its infamous unethical business practices, Amazon is well on its way. Led by their ruthless leader, Jeff Bezos, Amazon has taken the steps to becoming the ultimate monopoly of anything that can be bought and sold. It’s scary and it’s happening right now. If you’re not aware of what Amazon’s been up to lately, we’ve come up with 20 facts about the company that might shake you up just a little bit.

1. Their sales account for 43% of all online sales.

That’s nearly 50% already for the online market. Since its inception, Amazon now sells virtually anything you can possibly think of. Because of how large their market has gotten, Amazon now has the capability of satisfying most of what customers might need or be looking for. This number is only expected to grow over time as Amazon continues to conquer even more niches. After all, there are still places and things that Amazon has left untouched, if that’s even believable. Let’s just say that it wouldn’t be like that for long with the way Amazon is projecting its sales.

2. Amazon is looking to expand offline.

This is the next logical takeover for Amazon to achieve. Customers now prefer to buy everything online, even for retail. This is one of the main reasons why store after store are closing down. Whole shopping malls are closing down. Not at a lot of people are shopping that way any more. Shopping online gives customers variety and comparability with just one click. The thing is Amazon is poised to dive into that emptying offline market and take advantage of all that empty space. It’s a huge profit margin that only something like Amazon, rich and capable, can manage to do.

3. They sell everything.

We’ve said this already, and we’ll probably do it again. This is one of Amazon’s most powerful tools. They’ve turned from a simple bookshop into a one-stop shop, almost Wal-Mart-like but with a larger variety of goods and brands. It offers much convenience for the customer, but it also forces you to buy what they have. Even though they offer a large variety, you’ll still be missing out on smaller brands that might be better. We wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon starts developing their own line of products, buy out all other brands, and just start selling their own. They happen to be Amazon, and it seems like they can sell dirt if they had to.

4. They sell services.

Amazon is now offering a way for small service-type businesses to market through Amazon to reach a wider audience. You’ll have access to Amazon’s incredible customer base and for a small portion of your earnings, you can conduct your business through their website. Sounds good? Maybe. But just be careful. Amazon has a history of being a little too controlling when it comes to their assets. You might feel like you have the freedom to do what you want with your business with this new feature, but it might not be the case. Also, remember that Amazon will have access to your earnings, will be giving you clients, and will have records of all the business you conduct. If that doesn’t sound like control, we’re not sure what will.

5. Amazon makes $48 billion in revenue.

That sentence slides off the tongue easily, but it actually kind of difficult to picture. $48 billion is quite a load of money, and Amazon is pretty smart when it comes to their money. Instead of smart, maybe we’ll go ahead and say that Amazon is pretty greedy when it comes to their money. We get it. It’s their right. But they mask this greed with their AmazonSmile initiative, a charity campaign that’s supposed to do good. Good? Not so much. The way the program works is it passes on the giving power to the customers. What that means is that by buying certain products from AmazonSmile, you automatically donate 0.5% of your purchase to charity. That’s a really small percentage for a company that makes so much. And it really isn’t coming out of their pockets either; it’s coming out of yours. So in order to give a charity a meek $50, you’d have to spend $10,000 on AmazonSmile. Again, Amazon wins. We all lose.

6. They account for 75% of all online book sales.

Of course they dominate the book selling industry online; they practically invented it. Amazon also accounts for 61% of e-book sales. They even have an e-book publishing program for aspiring writers. Amazon gives amateur authors a place to sell their product easily and conveniently. With that number almost at 100%, many brick and mortar bookshops are suffering. Even mega bookstore Barnes and Noble have been experiencing a steady decline in sales for years now and have closed hundreds of stores over the years. The publishers are also in trouble when bookshops are under the water because they rely on these places to sell millions of books each year.

7. They don’t care much for authors.

You’d think that since they’re primary product are books that they’d do something for the people that write them, right? Not really. Last year alone, independent brick and mortar bookstores held over 200,000 author events. That could’ve been book readings, signings, book release parties, or what not. Amazon did a total number of zero events. Zero. Amazon also doesn’t do story time for kids like bookstores do or other book event parties that promote the love for books and literacy in general.

8. Amazon has been said to be not the greatest workplace

We’ve all heard the complaints from previous employees and the lawsuits. We also weren’t shocked when some Amazon warehouses have to have a paramedic truck on standby just in case a worker passes out from exhaustion. They account one employee per one million of sales, and if you can’t keep up with that statistic, they don’t care. Owner Jeff Bezos is actually proud of the way he runs his company. He believes in a dog eat dog world and is not ashamed in treating his employees poorly. Shame on him.

9. They started using drones.

This is an amazing development for the tech world. The ability for drones to deliver products directly to customers is quite impressive, really. It’s also faster, so it’s convenient and attractive for customers. However, if they start using drones in the future to deliver majority of their products, it’ll put mail delivery companies in deep water also. Currently, Amazon is relying on traditional delivery platforms to achieve the fast delivery times they promise. That’s a massive undertaking and a large business contract for many of these companies. With drones in the picture, that only means job loss. And if Bezos is looking into robotics in any way at all, we can almost guarantee that he’s looking to replace human workers in the future.

10. They’re becoming a search platform.

While Google still dominates in this business, Amazon is slowly taking away some of their searches. People are now going directly to Amazon to search for products that they know they can find there. Amazon gives product details right away, product suggestions, price comparisons, buying options, and everything else that a customer might need to look into about any product they want to purchase. When the day comes that Amazon launches its new search engine, Google better be prepared to fight back. Amazon already knows what products you like and use. Let’s not give it a chance to get a glimpse on the rest of our lives.

11. Amazon is exempt from collecting sales tax in most states.

How? They got a good deal going with the government. That’s how. Whatever that deal is the government must be getting some type of benefit from. Since they already have this government-bestowed 4-10% price advantage over their brick and mortar competitors, customers are likely to buy from them yet again. The cycle repeats itself over and over, and Amazon wins again. They profit largely at the expense of other competition. Some might say that it’s just American capitalism at its finest. We’ll touch on that more later on.

12. They deliver groceries.

One of Amazon’s departments is called Amazon Pantry. If you’ve never used this feature before, you might be in for a treat. It doesn’t work the same as grocery-delivery services. You’ll still have to wait for your items to be shipped in as short as a couple of days. If you tend to be a planner and take advantage of this Amazon feature, we can’t blame you for the business your local stores have lost. However, Amazon has surely exploited that industry, and we can only expect Amazon Pantry to get bigger. With all of their resource, they can easily beat out the smaller grocery delivery companies that have been popping up anywhere. Variety is the spice of life, and Amazon is out to swat it.

13. Amazon will have its own grocery store.

We’re talking about a brick and mortar store and with a twist. It’s actually kind of neat. They’re completely eliminating the checkout line by making everything electronic. In an Amazon Go store, the machines will automatically scan everything in you put in your specialized shopping bag and charge everything to your account when you’re ready. That’s amazing. No waiting in lines. No need to bring the wallet. No dealing with cash registers. Sadly, that’ll be the case. You’ll have an establishment that’s completely devoid of employees. That means that Bezos won’t have to fork out any employee expenses, and more people are going to miss out on an employment opportunity.

14. They just acquired Whole Foods.

The health and organic food giant has fallen prey into the hands of Amazon. Whole Foods sold to Amazon for roughly $13 billion just recently. This means lower Whole Food product prices for everyone and even a special discount for Amazon Prime members. Amazon might be looking to expand in the Whole Foods niche with their acquisition or they might just be looking to appeal to the type of Whole Foods upscale demographics that love to shop their not-so-great selections. Whatever it is that Bezos is really planning to do with this acquisition is something that only the future can unfold, but we promise we’re keeping a close eye on it.

15. Amazon Prime exists.

Free two-day shipping. Access to thousands of music and movies. These are just some of Amazon Prime’s membership benefits. The Prime Video and Prime Music features are slowly but surely enlarging their collection and reach. Amazon has even produced and released a slew of highly impressive TV shows and movies. They’re offering a new platform for film and television production that only Netflix can rival at the moment. We don’t doubt, not for a single second, that Amazon is using their resources to tap into the endless financial and commercial potential of this venture. We all know there’s money in the industry, and Amazon has only tipped its toe in. It’s getting ready to take a dive.

16. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.

What does Bezos know about the journalism and news industry? Probably not much. What does he hope to gain with the acquisition of the Washington Post? We’re not entirely sure what Bezos’ motives were for buying the Post, but we do know that he is planning to implement Amazon’s business practices onto the newspaper giant. It’s also looking like he’s going to be actively involved in running the newspaper company. If Amazon is trying to get its hands into the journalism industry, it’s already started with this acquisition. The Washington Post is not a small-time operation, and time will only tell what’s in store for the publication.

17. Amazon just hit a $250 billion valuation.

If you thought that $48 billion was a lot to take in, try to imagine $250 billion. What does a $250 billion valuation mean for the company? It means that it beat out Walmart’s $230 billion valuation. Walmart is not buckling at the knees just yet. It’s set up an online store to stand up against Amazon’s, but with the extra expense of all its physical stores, they really can’t compete there. Walmart still had more than 5 times the amount in sales last year when compared to Amazon, but Amazon’s valuation is probably a reflection of the many other profitable avenues they’re getting into. Now more than ever, it’s becoming easier to see how Amazon can take over the grocer giant in the future.

18. Amazon is now a mega-business.

This is great for Bezos and his associates, but their business is doing nothing but monopolizing not one but multiple industries. This harms the economy in a way that many analysts have been predicting for years now. For a market economy to be successful, effective, and sustainable, there should be variety. Amazon is slowly eliminating its competition, again not just in one industry but in many. It’s dipping into so many avenues. They’re not necessarily creating jobs either; they might even be eliminating jobs in the future. Being that Amazon also doesn’t have such a great track record when it comes to employee satisfaction, we know that they’re willing to do anything to climb the economic ladder.

19. They can afford to take losses.

Especially now more than ever, Amazon constantly takes hits just to wipe out their competition. They have used this tactic from the beginning and it continues to work. Amazon took a $3 billion loss in their first years when they lowered their prices way below their competitors. They got exactly what they wanted with that loss, which was customer satisfaction and loyalty. Pretty soon, it became clear that Amazon would have the lowest prices for anything. To this day, Amazon has rewarded customers for scanning products from physical stores just to buy for a cheaper price online. It’s ingenious, but it doesn’t keep the fight fair.

20. Amazon is buying everything.

This might be more speculation than fact, but if you didn’t get to the same conclusion as we did after going through this entire list, then you missed the point. We won’t go as far as world domination, but at least as far as the world of buying and selling is concerned, they’re definitely looking to take over. There’s no other company out there that can even come close to touching what Amazon has already become. They’re getting bigger every second, and much like a star expands over time, it might eventually explode. There are probably serious ramifications to Amazon’s overarching success, we’re sure, but we’re far too afraid to examine them now. So we’ll leave it at that and just go with the flow.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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