business news in context, analysis with attitude

On Friday, we cited columnist Martin Peers in The Information, who had a piece that is very tough on Amazon, suggesting that its current problems - low stock price, mounting layoffs among them - are largely self-inflicted and arguing that "after nearly 30 years in operation, Amazon should be in better shape. It’s time for the wild spending to stop."

MNB reader Brian Blank responded:

One quibble with the article from The Information:  I don’t know that it’s quite accurate to say that e-commerce has “tanked”.  Yes, it is down compared to pandemic levels, when it was the best - or only - option for so many, but I think it’s more accurate (and less hysterical) to say that e-commerce has normalized.

Personally, I only find e-commerce useful when I know what I need.  Christmas shopping, for instance, was almost entirely in person this year, as I needed to see what’s out there to get ideas and inspiration, and - especially in the case of apparel - I didn’t want to buy anything for anyone (including myself) that I hadn’t seen and touched (is that sweater soft enough? What does that color look like in real life?).

I have also decreased my spending at Amazon over the last year or more simply because things I used to order from Amazon I have now found to be less expensive from other retailers, especially Walmart. (And I can order through Walmart+ and pick up from my nearby store without having to go inside, which is even quicker delivery of most items than waiting for 2-day Prime delivery.)

MNB reader Philip Bradley wrote:

Martin Peers says "wild spending."  No!  What Amazon is doing is capital investment.  Perhaps too heavy, but still capital investment.  This has been Amazon's avenue for growth in the past.

Another MNB reader chimed in with his Amazon experience:

My RING doorbell Annual Subscription was $30 a year for the past few years. Renewal this Feb. will be $42.99.  This is basically just on-line event video storage.  Helpful to see package deliveries, porch pirate activity, and who is at the front door.  With well over 100 homicides and countless near homicides in Columbus, Ohio annually the police have little interest here in investigating/arresting porch pirates.  Most of my alerts are people jogging or walking their dogs, or cats roaming in the wee hours of the night.  Bezos is finding this an easy way to enhance Amazon revenues.  It's only another $13 plus tax so I assume most of us will just pony up.  I do not have an Amazon Prime  membership.  On the rare occasion I need something from Amazon (perhaps twice a year) my son has that membership.    I may cancel - the RING still would serve as a nice doorbell.