By BECKY GILLETTE
While accounting for close to 15 percent of the adult population and nearly three-quarters of the country’s land mass, rural-American accounts for only 3.7 percent of total gross revenues in the U.S. economy, said Amazon spokesperson Joel Sider.
But sellers with Amazon.com may actually have an advantage by being located in a rural area if costs for running the business such as rent and taxes are lower than in urban areas.
“Amazon does indeed help level the playing field for small companies in Mississippi,” Sider said. “Technology is boosting rural business revenues. Rural businesses say adoption of digital technologies are important for their future, with 55.2 percent of them agreeing that e-commerce helps them grow their customer base and a similar percentage (54.6 percent) confirming that online tools had a positive impact on their revenue in the past three years.”
Sider said digital tools and technology help purchasing and cut costs. About a third of rural businesses say that online tools reduce purchasing costs of products and materials, with 22 percent purchasing at least 80 percent of their goods and services online.
“Online services help rural businesses reach customers out of state and overseas,” Sider said. “Almost 40 percent of these small business owners say that digital technology has allowed them to sell beyond their state and 16 percent of them confirm they are selling internationally due to their access to digital tools. Twenty-five percent sell their products using their own websites, 12.7 percent use a third-party online sales site, and 35.7 percent use online marketing, including social media.”
Amazon invested about $15 million in Mississippi between 2010-2018. Amazon’s main investment in Mississippi is the Whole Foods Market in Jackson.
Sider said more than 7,500 authors, small- and medium-sized businesses, and developers in the state are growing their businesses using Amazon products and services. Most are sellers.
According to the Amazon small and medium business impact report done in May of this year, third-party gross physical merchandise sales — primarily composed of small and medium businesses selling in Amazon’s stores–surpassed $160 billion in 2018 and made up more than half of the units sold in Amazon’s stores.
In 2018, the number of the businesses eclipsing $1 million in sales in Amazon’s stores worldwide grew by 20 percent. On average in 2018, U.S.-based businesses sold more than 4,000 items per minute in Amazon’s stores and earned more than $90,000.
“In 2018, Amazon lent U.S.-based [small and medium businesses] more than $1 billion to build inventory and support their Amazon stores,” Sider said.
Recently Amazon announced a big batch of new tools for sellers, and also disclosed the company will spend $15 billion this year on tools, programs and infrastructure for sellers.
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