business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  CNBC reports on a new study saying that the average American spends $91.75 on Amazon each month.

That's the average.  Non-Prime members are estimated to spend $38 a month, while Prime members spend almost three times that, or $110 a month.  The study also says that "during Amazon’s Prime Day shopping holiday, customers reported spending an average of $117 on discounted products."

According to the study, done by Upgraded Points, the 10 states with the highest average spend on Amazon are, in order:  Tennessee: $124.22.  Delaware: $114.  Wisconsin: $113.66.  Iowa: $113.46.  Washington: $112.06.  New Mexico: $110.56.  Kentucky: $108.63.  Utah: $107.69.  Massachusetts: $105.52.  And Arkansas: $105.20.

The 10 states with the lowest average monthly Amazon spend are:  West Virginia: $56.10.  Minnesota: $68.86.  Indiana: $72.87.  Missouri: $74.78.  Maine: $75.   Pennsylvania: $75.79.  Nevada: $75.93.  Kansas: $76. 29.  Idaho: $77.07. And Oregon: $77.55.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but the Couple household has all these states beat - we spend more than the average Tennessee household each month just on Subscribe & Save items.  (The study does not break it out, but I'd love to see the average spend by Subscribe & Save customers - automatic replenishment, as we've often said here in the past, is an enormous driver of higher sales and greater loyalty.)

•  From Reuters:

" is partnering with travel booking site Priceline to offer discounts during Tuesday's Prime Day, the first time an online travel agency has participated in the shopping event.

"Retail spending has slowed, but U.S. consumers have kept spending on experiences like travel. Amazon is broadening its offerings to boost sign-ups as travel companies look to fill hotel rooms.

"Amazon’s July 11-12 event will offer U.S. members 48 hours of deals including an additional 20% off Priceline's Hotel Express deals, which offers 60% off hotels.  While the nation's largest retailer by market value has been slashing costs and unsuccessful programs, the company saw an opportunity with Priceline, a unit of Booking Holdings.

"Priceline is the first travel brand to offer an exclusive U.S. Prime Day deal, Amazon said. The booking site currently runs ads throughout Amazon's portfolio of streaming and audio products."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Some retailers are concluding that free shipping comes at too great a cost. 

"Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Abercrombie & Fitch are among the merchants that have raised the bar for spending for consumers to get orders shipped free, as companies look to shore up their profit margins on online sales and pass a portion of rising delivery costs onto customers.

"The average minimum-order threshold for retailers to offer free shipping rose to $64 this year from $52 in 2019, based on a sample set of 48 retailers, according to retail-technology provider Narvar … The push to rein in the share of orders that are shipped free is the latest sign of retailers resetting their logistics strategies following changes in consumer buying patterns. A surge in online shopping by locked-down consumers early in the pandemic has receded, but retail industry experts say shoppers still have high expectations for the availability of goods in a digital world and merchants are looking to sharpen the profitability of those sales. 

"Higher thresholds for free shipping mark a step back from longtime efforts to spur online sales with offers of free or cheap delivery. That helped increase U.S. e-commerce sales from $55.3 billion in the first quarter of 2012 to $272.6 billion in the first three months of this year, according to Commerce Department figures, but free delivery has also weighed on retailer profits as parcel-shipping prices have increased."

The story notes that "costs associated with home delivery are equivalent to 10% to 15% of an e-commerce brand’s sales, versus 2% to 3% when a truck delivers goods to stores, according to Deutsche Bank Research."