Trump wants to go after Amazon

  • President Donald Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, a source told the news website Axios.
  • The president is considering targeting the retail giant's tax status or antitrust action.
  • Trump blames Amazon for the decline of brick-and-mortar retailers and the pain that has caused real-estate developers.
  • And he thinks the company is getting a free ride from the US Postal Service.

President Donald Trump is "obsessed" with Amazon, a source told the news website Axios, and is eyeing legal means to go after the online retail giant.

According to the Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, Trump believes Amazon is a negative force for smaller, locally owned retailers and wants to find a way to curtail the company's dominance in online shopping. According to Axios' sources, he is considering a change to Amazon's tax status or a crackdown down through antitrust rules.

7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.


The Supreme Court is already considering a case that could give states more power to collect sales tax on online retailers.

While Amazon already imposes the applicable state sales tax on goods it sells, when a third-party seller uses the platform, it is up to that seller to collect sales tax. Many third-party sellers on Amazon do not collect those taxes.

Trump hasn't been shy about his distaste for Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, previously tweeting that the retailer is hurting the US Postal Service and attacking Bezos for his ownership of The Washington Post.

"Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers," Trump tweeted in August. "Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!"

Concern over Amazon's effect on the American retail landscape is widely held. But Trump's grumblings about the company's relationship with the US Postal Service seem unfounded, given that much of the USPS' financial woes come from funding mismanagement, pension obligations, and the non-package side of its business.

According to Axios, Trump has also soured on Amazon in part because fellow real-estate developers have complained to Trump that the company is helping to kill off brick-and-mortar retailers and malls.

Axios said the president did not have a clear plan to go after the company yet.

Following the report, Amazon's stock fell roughly $64 a share, or 4.3%, in premarket trading to $1,433.05 a share.

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