Welcome to The Backroom, a window into what goes on behind the scenes as the Retail Dive team covers the stories and trends reshaping retail. You can check out all our podcast episodes (past and present) here and listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and Spotify.
The early years of the internet era were trumpeted as a renaissance of entrepreneurism and innovation, a time when garage-based startups could upend oversized, tired old legacy models of doing business.
Today the internet is still big and busy, but much of the activity is funneled through a few companies. Google and Facebook control a majority of the digital advertising market, which retailers depend on to reach customers. Product search is controlled mainly by Google and Amazon. Roughly a third of all e-commerce in the country happens through Amazon's website.
In recent years, the tech giants have come under scrutiny from the federal agencies tasked with reining in harmful monopolies and ensuring competitive markets. The tough stance isn't likely to change with a Democrat-controlled government, given the House of Representatives issued a scathing report into the tech giants last year. President Biden named Lena Kahn, who led the House investigation and authored an influential paper critical of how Amazon wields its market power, for the Federal Trade Commission.
To make sense of how the world of antitrust and market structures affect retailers across the industry, we talked with Sally Hubbard, a former assistant attorney general with New York's antitrust unit and current director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute.
- What does a government reckoning with Google and Facebook mean for retail? (Retail Dive)
- US ecommerce grows 44.0% in 2020 (Digital Commerce 360)
- House report accuses Amazon of abusing market power (Retail Dive)
- President Biden Announces his Intent to Nominate Lina Khan for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (The White House)
- Is Amazon on a collision course with the government? (Retail Dive)