Thursday, July 12, 2012

The end of retail as we know it?

Commending us to read Slate colleague Farhad Manjoo's piece on the implications of Amazon's growing investment in same day delivery, Matt Yglesias observes,
I think people tend to overstate the level of real resource misallocation involved in the 2002-2005 house-building boom. By now America is already underhoused by historical standards. But commercial real estate is another matter. The current downturn will end, and CRE construction will returm to some extent, but I don't think the business of building shopping centers will ever come back. Retrofitting existing ones as health care facilities, by contrast, should be a booming business.
As an Amazon Prime(tm) member (annual fee of $79) I receive "free" two day shipping on pretty much everything Amazon sells. I hate shopping and buy everything I can on Amazon including everything you would buy at a Target/Walgreens, but also large bags of dog food and dog treats, non-perishable grocery items (canned soup by the case), consumer electronics (I've bought 3 TVs on Prime(tm)) and anything else I need or want that Amazon will ship two day.  The convenience of having all of this delivered to my door is impossible to overstate.  I can't think of any reason why everyone isn't doing this.

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