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Will Torrid Online Sales Make Conventional Retail Irrelevant?

December 26th, 2013 | by Morris Beschloss | Comments

The 2013 Thanksgiving weekend of retail sales significantly sagged, while online buying activity generated a 29% increase over the previous year 2012.

For years, the threat of mass conversion from patronizing of retail outlets to online had been predicted; but recent year-end holiday buying trends had shown no significant breakthroughs. But this year’s mass buying shift seems to have ushered in a significant transition; and future economic historians may crown Amazon founder and CEO chief Jeff Bezos as the “wunderkind” of this “revolution.”

The months ahead may intensify this evolution at an unfortunate time for America’s overall economic recovery.

While retail outlet patronage sagged in double digits during a lengthened Thanksgiving weekend, the swing to online buying cut deeply into retail store visitation. With both consumer demand and confidence on a downward slope, the combined impact of this metamorphosis may reduce commercial construction, and a recovery in relevant retail employment.

Expect this combination of circumstances to accelerate as mastermind Bezos expands his incomparable imprint on the global economic revolution. Already enshrined in inventive history by turning the communications industry into a “quick read” Kindle book lending, leading to the closing of bookstores, and the shrinking of print media, he is now hard at work expediting the shipment of hard and soft goods by drone. This modern embodiment of the “renaissance men” of the 15th and 16th centuries is turning the modern business world into a facsimile of George Orwell’s “A Brave New World.”

While today’s philosophers lament the “creativity loss” of former decades, the Bezoses, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerbergs, and a host of other young brain trusts are putting a large footprint into the dizzying changes of today’s unrecognizable lifestyles.

It’s fruitless to even attempt to prophesy where all this will lead in the years to come.

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