Amazon’s sales topped $1 billion a day in 2020, according to Bloomberg Technology. Amazon benefited disproportionately from COVID-19 and the shift towards online sales caused by the pandemic. In fact, the Bloomberg article states that their revenue grew nearly 44% in the fourth quarter of 2020. It goes without saying that much of this growth was at the expense of independent retailers.
There is no doubt that Amazon is, and has long been, a monopoly. And while monopolies are not illegal in the US, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was enacted to curb concentrations of power that might interfere with trade and reduce economic competition. It is not hard to see that Amazon has just such a concentration of power, dominating the online market in countless different retail fields.
Thousands of small businesses have recently joined together to lobby for the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to be used to stop tech monopolies like Amazon from cornering the online market. Small Business Rising is a campaign by independent businesses and entrepreneurs that is trying to restore fair competition in the marketplace. An article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month reports that the effort was launched by trade groups representing hardware stores, office suppliers, pharmacies, florists, booksellers, and grocers – as well as buy-local groups around the country.
Small Business Rising has four main goals:
1. Stop tech monopolies, such as Amazon, from cornering the online market by breaking them up and regulating them.
2. Block dominant corporations from engaging in abusive and anti-competitive tactics by making our antitrust laws stronger and easier to enforce.
3. Outlaw mega-mergers and set a higher bar for allowing other mergers, including vertical acquisitions.
4. Establish rules to create a level playing field, promote competition, and spur innovation.
Small Business Rising invites retailers to share their story and to contact their leaders to help in this effort. It’s time to stand up to Amazon for the sake of independent shopkeepers everywhere.
Carol Schroeder, Shopkeeper, Speaker & Author, Specialty Shop Retailing