I don’t think of myself as a next-generation consumer. I was around when Amazon launched in 1994 and thought it was a good idea, but wouldn’t Barnes & Noble and Walmart soon rush in and crush Amazon?
Apparently not. By 1997, Amazon had gone public. Some 25 years later, I am not a rabid online shopper, but I generally go to Amazon for gifts (including gift cards) and other stuff. Like, just recently, I realized I was low on razors, so I ordered some on Amazon.
Doing so saved me a trip to the store and made the purchase easy (because I initially ordered my razors from Amazon, they knew what type I liked so all I had to do was reorder). During the pandemic, I don’t think I really increased my online shopping that much. I still relied on Amazon for miscellaneous purchases, like ski mittens, a pour-over reusable cloth coffee filter and a 1,000-piece puzzle I bought on a whim.
As a Prime member, I’m a bit of an outlier and under-spender. The average that a Prime member spends monthly is between $51 and $100 (according to Statista), and I am under that right now. But Amazon is apparently revving up to get me to spend more. In 2020, Amazon became the world’s largest advertiser, spending about $11 billion per year, according to reports.
I can see how Amazon might bolster my spending, in theory at least. I regularly watch Prime Video, but I don’t notice much product placement. Amazon’s website offers the company a window into my current desires (hmm, someone on my account has been searching for a desk…) It seems like a well-oiled tool to anticipate my purchases and entice me with new offers
But Amazon is just getting started. It will be very hard for others to catch up.