Online growth is ominous

Some of our readers have been critical of The Maui News’ aggressive Save Our Stores campaign urging our citizens to forego shopping online this holiday season and, instead, spend that money locally.

New reports released last week underscore some of the reasons we feel online sites, particularly Amazon, pose a serious threat to our brick-and-mortar stores on Maui.

First of all, online selling surged during the Black Friday weekend. Some estimates say online sales were up 50 percent over the same period last year.

Business Insider reported that Amazon had an incredible 12.78 million transactions over Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Amazon accounted for 45 percent of all online purchases on Thanksgiving, and an incredible 54.9 percent on Black Friday. Amazon did not release the dollar value of those sales.

Walmart was a distant second place in online sales over Thanksgiving and Black Friday with 8.8 percent of transactions; Target had 3.3 percent.

Then Tech Crunch reported that Amazon announced that Cyber Monday was the “biggest shopping day worldwide in company history.” The company concluded by saying customers bought “hundreds of millions” of products from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

We would remind readers what the point of the Save Our Stores campaign is — protecting our island’s retail community. Our local stores employ friends and neighbors, pay property taxes and support our nonprofits as well as youth sports and activities.

The money spent at distant online giants is never coming back here — it is a one-way street. No matter where you work, money spent locally has a very good chance of walking right back into your employer’s door.

So, support our stores — protect your neighbor’s job, as well as your own.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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