This week, Amazon placed pop-up toy shops in Los Angeles County - one in the Glendale Galleria and one on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. These shops, which opened on Tuesday, November 2nd, will stay open through Monday, November 22nd and they will feature more than 100 toys from Hasbro, LEGO, Disney, and more. The company stated that they understand shoppers want the in-person holiday shopping experience, complete with festive music and physically picking up and choosing items.
According to Statista, Amazon's gross market share in America in 2020 was 47%, up 2% from 2019 and 4% from 2018. That doesn't leave a lot of room for independent retailers in the country. Particularly when the company, known for its online retail options, steps into the in-person holiday retail market in Los Angeles County.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance says, "In a 2019 survey, three-quarters of independent retailers ranked Amazon’s dominance as a major threat to their survival, and only 11 percent of those selling on its site described their experience as successful." While Los Angeles businesses are hoping to see a bump this year in sales over last year's drop due to lower revenue because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many were hoping to do most of their business in person.
If Amazon is dominating in the retail market in Los Angeles County (and, in fact, the entire country), does it really need to step into the in-person holiday shopping space where local small businesses are struggling to survive? Apparently, it does.
There is help on the way, though. Mayor Eric Garcetti has instigated a program called L.A. Optimized which helps small businesses create online presences for their local brick-and-mortar shops. Because trends have been pointing toward a greater shopping interest online, it is more and more important for Los Angeles businesses to begin to create a virtual presence.
L.A. Optimized will help local businesses create websites for their businesses, set up online business listings, and perform audits for their current business for how they can improve and implement new business strategies in the online sector.
The program is accepting applications on a rolling basis and local businesses can sign up through the website. Even businesses not in Los Angeles County can take advantage of the webinars and the service is completely free.
If you're a shopper looking to buy holiday gifts this season, consider supporting your local businesses by shopping locally in your community.