To fully understand the breadth of the reach Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) has into our lives, realize that you can go through your entire day and use virtually nothing but Amazon products and services.
Few companies have ever had such broad contact with our daily lives or the ability to meet so many of our needs. There's a reason Amazon is called the "everything store," and it underscores why this behemoth is able to generate over $200 billion in annual sales and some $9 billion in yearly profits. Maybe it's not all-encompassing, like the Buy and Large Corporation from the movie Wall-E, but it's not so far away, either.
The steel and railroad monopolies of the late 19th century were feared because of their control over the economy. But as the digital world has evolved to shape how we work, live, and play, the old monopolies have nothing on Amazon.com, which accounts for 50% of all internet sales today.
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Amazon all day, every day
Through its list of over 70 private-label brands, Amazon is there for you in every aspect of your home and life.
You can wake up in the morning in an AmazonBasics bed covered in Pinzon sheets, then reach over to your Rivet nightstand and check your phone that's plugged into the wall with an Amazon cable -- hey, are you still using your Amazon Fire phone after all these years?
You pad your way to the bathroom to shower with Mountain Falls body wash, wash your hair with Solimo shampoo, then towel off with a Basics towel. In your medicine cabinet are a variety of Basic Care products including antacids, ointments, allergy meds, and smoking cessation gum.
The list of clothes you can wear with an Amazon label is nearly endless, and it comprises the largest proportion of Amazon brands, covering women, men, and kids, and ranging from casual to office wear. Listing all of them would take too long, but they include Goodthreads, Wild Meadow, Social Graces, Crafted Collar, Buttoned Down, and Rugged Mile Denim. And don't forget Mama Bear diapers for the baby.
The kitchen is, of course, stocked with food from Whole Foods Market, but Amazon also sells Mama Bear baby food, snacks from Happy Belly and Wickedly Prime, and your first coffee of the day is from Solimo. You can even heat it up in an Alexa-enabled Amazon microwave where you can order more popcorn with the touch of a built-in Dash button. And if you run out of other covered items and are in a participating location, you can log on to Amazon Fresh to buy more and have them delivered.
Around the home, you'll find Alexa-enabled clocks, Stone & Beam furniture and lighting, and the full gamut of electronic and accessories, including the ubiquitous Echo devices. Soon to come is a variety of audio equipment such as the Echo Link and Link Amp, which provide multiroom sound capabilities.
Go grab lunch at an Amazon Go store, and later that night stream movies on Amazon Prime. And, yes, you can still sit back and relax while reading a book you bought on Amazon.
Amazon the omniscient
There is virtually no space personal enough that we haven't allowed Amazon into, and though it may occasionally cough up a hair ball like the Fire phone, it remains a massively successful business that can only continue to grow because of the vast amount of data it is collecting on us and our habits.
Between 2012 and 2017, product sales grew at a compound rate of 14.3% annually. In 2017, sales surged 25.3%, and through the first nine months of 2018, they grew almost 26%. Amazon sales are accelerating as it grows bigger, not tailing off to become some stodgy retailer.
Amazon knows the products we're buying, the movies we're watching, the music we're listening to, and the books we're reading. It can use the data collected to tailor that information into a transformational shopping experience or offer even more goods and services based on our preferences.
Amazon.com hasn't yet reached the point where it can sell us something to satisfy our every desire, but if you ask Alexa, she might be able to tell you where to get it.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.