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Pepper Spray, Books On Racism, 'I Can't Breathe' Merchandise Are Top Sellers On Amazon As Protests Rage

Neer Varshney

Amazon Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has seen a jump in sales of safety and anti-racism items as protests following the death of George Floyd have continued to grip the United States.

What Happened

A pepper spray is the best selling product in the "Sports & Outdoors" category for the e-commerce giant at press time. Two other pepper spray products were listed at 12 and 49 in the best-selling list, and a stun gun was the forty-third best-seller.

The shift in consumer demand was first reported by CNBC.

The top three bestselling audiobooks on Amazon were all related to racism. "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," was followed by "How to Be an Antiracist," and "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor."

"So You Want to Talk About Race" was the seventh best-selling audiobook for Amazon at press time.

Among the books category, "White Fragility" was still the best seller, followed by "How to Be an Antiracist" on number three, and "We're Different, We're the Same" on number seven.

One "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt ranked 53 in the "Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry" section. It was yet to make the top 1000 list as of Friday, founder & CEO of e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse Juozas Kaziukėnas told CNBC.

Why It Matters

Protests have engulfed the U.S. since George Floyd, a 46-year old black Minneapolis man, died on May 25, as a result of police action.

In video footage that emerged after his death, a police officer Derek Chauvin was seen kneeling at Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, even as the latter pleaded that he couldn't breathe and later fell unconscious.

The demonstrations in certain cities have turned violent on occasion, and multiple companies, including Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Amazon subsidiary Whole Foods have had to board up some of their retail outlets.

Amazon has also temporarily scaled back its e-commerce operations in light of the protests, and earlier issued a statement against what it described as "inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country."

Amazon Price Action

Amazon shares closed 1.2% higher at $2,471.04 on Monday. The shares traded 0.4% lower at $2,462.25 in the after-hours session.

Image Credit: Amazon

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