During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump repeatedly accused Amazon of running a monopoly, saying it has a “huge antitrust problem.”
Like so much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric, it’s hard to know exactly what he meant by that.
But this chart, made by financial firm SunTrust, shows Amazon’s online business is pretty far from displaying monopolistic characteristics.
The chart shows e-commerce penetration is less than 5% in two of the largest retail segments (“Grocery, Food & Beverage” and “Health and Personal Care”) and less than 15% in other segments like clothing, electronics, and home furnishings.
That means Amazon, which is estimated to own roughly 20% of all e-commerce sales, accounts for a tiny pie of the overall US retail market.
And although e-commerce’s share continues to grow fast, it likely won’t make any of the online retailers a monopoly in the near future. SunTrust, for example, estimates online grocery sales to balloon to $60 billion in total by 2021, nearly 10-times the current market size, but that’s still less than 10% of the overall market.
On top of that, antitrust laws are mainly concerned about protecting consumers from things like unfair price hikes — something that hardly applies to Amazon, a company known for offering low prices.
That doesn’t mean Amazon isn’t expanding in ways that could one day make it look like more of a monopoly. Amazon has been aggressively expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint lately, opening a new grocery store, a number of bookstores and pop-up stores across the country. That could turn out to be a very lucrative business for Amazon that grabs market share away from incumbents, just like its cloud service, Amazon Web Services, own the lion’s share of the cloud market today.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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