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Clicks And Bricks

As much as I hate to admit it, and I apologize in advance to our traditional brick-and-mortar retail readers for the following confession, I am an Amazon junkie.

I am all in. I’ve been a Prime member since 2012. I have the shopping app on my phone. I have an Amazon credit card that gives me cash back when I fill my tank. I cut the cord on our basement TV and attached a Fire TV Stick to stream shows and movies. I read most of my books on my Kindle.

Having two sons who play baseball, I have found that the basic supplies that every 9- and 11-year-old ballplayer needs — batting gloves, eye black, sacks of sunflower seeds and Dubble Bubble, not to mention the occasional bat and pair of stirrup pants — can be had cheaply and easily on Amazon. It’s just too convenient. I think of something we need, I search and order with One- Click, and two days later it’s sitting on my doorstep.

But despite the industry I work in, I have never really bought many consumer electronics or major appliances from Amazon. For me, that’s a different kind of shopping, one that takes a somewhat higher level of commitment. A bag of Dubble Bubble is a bag of Dubble Bubble, but a 65-inch 4K smart TV is not the type of product I’m comfortable ordering with One-Click.

Perhaps I’m a bit old-fashioned but I really want to see, and touch, and experience the TV I’m buying, and I want to look at it next to others that I may have considered.

I want to open the fridge door and look at the shelf configuration and see if the water filter is really as easy to change as they say.

Apparently I’m not alone. While Amazon’s overall share of the CE market climbed again last year, as seen in the results of our Top 25 Consumer Electronics E-tailers Report, the giant’s market share wave may finally be ebbing.

According to our friend Bob Tancula, research VP at our data partner The Stevenson Company, Amazon is paying an increasingly higher price to maintain its CE market share, and after years of trying, the rest of the CE and majaps retail world has finally come up with successful strategies to combat the e-tail giant’s pricing and delivery advantages. (In fact, the average selling prices of CE and majaps online vs. at brickand- mortar as a whole are virtually indistinguishable these days.)

What that adds up to is a healthier competitive landscape for consumers and a fighting chance for traditional retailers. It is also an indication that consumers are not ready to completely accept a one-sizefits- all approach to purchasing. And maybe, just maybe, I’m not the dinosaur I thought I was.

Christmas In July

Senior editor Alan Wolf talked to an array of retail execs and offers up our first look at the all-important holiday selling season on p. 27. In addition, on July 15, we will be hosting our annual “Christmas In July” free webinar, with special guests New Age Electronics president Fred Towns, HSN VP of electronics and household Neal Martinelli, Icontrol Networks VP of Piper marketing Jason Domangue, and CEA manager of industry analysis Chris Ely. The expert panel will be offering up exclusive insights into this year’s second half and what you can do to prepare for it. To register, go to and click on the banner.