A PYMNTS Company

Is Amazon Getting Too Big?

 |  May 20, 2019

In an era when legacy retailers such as Sears and Macy’s are scaling back or going bust, online behemoth Amazon continues to boom. The company is the second-largest retailer in the United States behind Walmart, and last year it became the second company in the world to reach $1 trillion in market capitalization. Perhaps more significantly, it’s also one of the world’s largest tech companies, with reams of data collected from an enormous customer base. Amazon has sold 100 million units of its voice assistant, Alexa, and an equal number of Prime subscriptions. But is Amazon too big?

Amazon’s runaway growth has prompted questions about whether it has become a massive monopoly that has unfairly edged out smaller competitors. That question has caught the attention of consumers and policymakers, many of whom have called for legislation to regulate the global goliath. The question, while intriguing, seems to be a moot point for founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who reportedly said his company is “not too big to fail.”

“I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years,” Bezos said, according to a report by CNBC.

The Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM invited two experts to discuss the potential backlash to Amazon’s unbridled growth. Wharton marketing professor Barbara Kahn and Ryan Hamilton, marketing professor at Emory University, tackled the topic during a recent interview. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.) Following are key points from their conversation.

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