Amazon has the Capacity to be a Standalone Economy

Over the weekend we decided to head out for lunch with some friends. A Sunday lunch is quite the event over here in the UK. Roast pork/chicken/beef/turkey with all the trimmings and the obligatory ‘Yorkie’. That’s a Yorkshire pudding with gravy.

I’m still getting used to it. My version of a ‘Sunday lunch’ is still a BBQ out the back with a few cold tinnies and plenty of SPF50+.

Nonetheless, as we headed out to the garage I stepped down onto our conservatory steps and heard a loud ‘crack’.

As I moved off the step I could see the flooring tile I stepped on had cracked. The grouting had also come loose. Bugger. I’d pick up some adhesive and new grouting on the way home from lunch.

Sunday roast lunch ended up being wonderful. Maybe I can get used to it…

During lunch one of our friends (who’s a bartender) was telling me about a great rum he liked. I quite like rum too. And was telling him that I believed the next big ‘spirits boom’ was going to be in rum.

We’d seen gin take off and become a mega-boom for the drinks market. This was hot off the heels of the craft beer mega-boom. My take was these are all cyclical and come and go as the next spirit becomes the drink ‘to be seen with’.

Here’s a hot little side tip for you, keep an eye on the rum markets and premium rum prices.

Anyway he told me that his rum of choice right now was Ron Zacapa Centenario 23. The slightly more premium one and even better tasting was the Ron Zacapa Centenario XO Gran Reserva.

I was pretty keen for a bottle of the 23…at least to start with. I jumped straight onto my Amazon app and had a quick search for the 23. I showed him the price, £49. I asked, ‘is this a good price?‘ He did a double take.

Yes, it was a fantastic price. He said they weren’t normally that ‘cheap’. He turned away for a second. As he turned back I said to him, ‘got one’. He laughed and asked what I meant. And I told him, ‘it’s going to be delivered tomorrow, a bottle of Ron Zacapa 23.

We had a bit of a laugh as I began to anticipate my Amazon Prime delivery for the next day.

By the way, it’s a great rum. If you’re into rum, highly recommend getting some!

On the way home from lunch my wife reminded me I still needed ‘bits and bobs’ to fix the broken tile.

We headed home via Homebase.

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For those of you that aren’t aware, Homebase is a large DIY retailer here in the UK. Bunnings (Wesfarmers) bought them not that long ago. Bunnings had grand plans to rebrand all the Homebase stores and put the ‘Aussie stamp’ on the UK DIY market.

They failed. Bunnings to the UK market is what Masters is to the Aussie market. It will go down as one of the greatest corporate misjudgements of all time. But a detailed story for another day, that one.

Homebase had the stuff I needed. But as I was standing in the ‘flooring and tiles’ aisle, I thought I’d check the prices on Amazon. You never know where you can save a few quid.

Lo and behold, Amazon was considerably cheaper than Homebase. I ordered the stuff I needed from Amazon while standing in Homebase.

It would all be delivered tomorrow. Rum and tile adhesive, what a combo!

I walked out of Homebase empty-handed (not for the first time).

My wife asked where the goods were. I told her it was cheaper on Amazon and will be delivered tomorrow. She said, ‘fair enough’. It wasn’t the first time I’d done this.

After all, it’s not like I was going to fix the tile now. I was ready for a ‘tinnie’ and some afternoon ‘Super Sunday’ football.

Not just an e-commerce company…a global separate economy

Two interactions with Amazon without even thinking about it. I like to think of myself as the modern iteration of a consumer. Maybe even a little ahead of the curve when it comes to those in my demographic.

Some of my friends even call it ‘Samazon’ considering how much we use it. For shopping, ‘bits and bobs’, food alcohol, clothing, entertainment (streaming and music), and several ‘Alexa’ devices around the house.

I’m not unique though. There’s a good reason why Amazon has become one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. It’s not just because they sell stuff.

Amazon is ever-expanding. And they’re finding new ways to please the end user.

Take for instance their shopping experience now. On select lines (which no doubt will get bigger) you can order the clothes and not pay for them.

Well, you order them, they send them out and if you keep them, they charge you. If you send them back, they don’t charge you. That way you can order a bunch of clothes, try them on, and if you don’t like them, send them back and Amazon never charges you.

That’s new. And I expect it to become hugely popular.

Another thing you’ll see more of through Amazon is sport. Not just sport products to buy. I mean live sport. You’re already seeing a load more live tennis on Amazon Prime. Most tournaments you can choose any match to watch.

Also the Premier League will be exclusively broadcast on Amazon Prime this Boxing Day. That’s a huge change of tradition in the UK market.

And then in March, Amazon will broadcast live The Players Championship PGA Tour golf tournament. You will be able to select any golfer in the field and follow them live. That’s 144 golfers you can choose from.

Now this ‘new’ change is something I’ve seen coming for a while.

On 21 March 2016, I wrote in Money Morning:

The ‘holy grail’ of cable TV is live sport. But it’s only a matter of time before the ‘unthinkable’ happens. Streaming services [such as Netflix and Amazon] getting into live sport. There are advance signals now that tell me this is going to happen.

I then followed up on 9 July 2016, with:

Actually, in anticipation of the size and scale of Amazon, it might even be a good chance now to jump into the stock. Yes, the stock is worth US$352 billion. Yes, it’s trading at a P/E over 300 times. But there’s a lot to like about Amazon…

Amazon was trading at US$745 back then. It’s recent 52-week high was just over US$2,000, a 168% gain in a touch over three years. Not bad.

But I’m sure a lot of investors passed on it. After all, just two years earlier Amazon had been trading around US$300. It was already up 148% in the two years prior and a giant of industry, there were doubts it was overpriced already.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but as we’ve seen, Amazon has become perhaps the most dominant company in the world. And for good reason; they’ve infiltrated every facet of life.

And the direction I see them going, I think there’s even more to come. Amazon has the capacity to be a standalone economy. Not just an e-commerce company…a global separate economy.

What exactly do I mean by that? And how will it benefit investors? Well make sure to check out tomorrow’s Money Morning as I dive deeper into what, ‘The Government of Amazon’ looks like a decade from now.


Sam Volkering,
Editor, Money Morning

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Sam Volkering is an Editor for Money Morning and is small-cap, cryptocurrency and technology expert.

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