SELECTED FINDINGS FROM AMAZON AND EMPTY STOREFRONTS

​​​A number of documents are available for download in PDF format:

AMAZON AND EMPTY STOREFRONTS was released at the American Booksellers Association 2016 Winter Institute in Denver, Colorado on January 25, 2016. 

The American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics have long collaborated to study and describe the state of independent retail in America, but until now those efforts have focused on various classes of bricks and mortar stores. This report takes that research into a new era. It is designed to provide policymakers and consumers with a better understanding of the impact at the state and local level of the growth of online retail as a substitute for storefront purchases.


As Internet sales have risen unabated in recent years, little attention has been paid to the effects of that growth on American communities. Focusing on the industry leader, Amazon, this report looks at two broad classes of impact: Fiscal (relating to public revenue) and Land Use (relating to development patterns at the local level). This report looks at calendar year 2014, the last year for which good data is available. Online sales have, of course, only grown since then. In addition, we focus exclusively on Amazon, which likely accounts for only 1/3 or less of total online retail. Given those limitations, these findings should be seen as a sign of far bigger impacts to come. 

ESSENTIAL NATIONAL FINDINGS


In 2014, Amazon sold $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $625 million in state and local sales taxes.


That is the equivalent of 30,000 retail storefronts, 107 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $420 million in property taxes.


A total of more than $1 billion in revenue lost to state and local governments, $8.48 for every household in America.


Amazon also operated 65 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 30,000 full-time workers and 104,000 part-time and seasonal workers.


Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs.