The One Retailer Amazon Can Not Kill

Blue Apron, JC Penny, Sears, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Borders, PC Richard and Son’s, Dick’s Sporting Good, Sports Authority, Costco, Etsy, grocery stores, mattress stores, and malls, in general, have all been getting crushed by the e-commerce giant… Amazon!

Amazon is only becoming larger and more dominant in areas that no one thought possible.

Just take a look at all of Amazon’s subsidiary companies below, with Whole Foods being Jeff Bezos’s latest purchase.

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So large that the government is even considering regulating Amazon’s growth because they are worried about the companies overwhelming influence on the economy.

There was once another retail giant that was forcing small business all across the country to go out of business… Walmart. Walmart was once upon a time demonized as a retail monster that was going to kill thousands of small businesses around the country – putting many people out of work.

Now Amazon is doing the same thing to this nation and the world.

Creative Destruction – What Happens To The ‘Losers’?

Capitalism provides individuals the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and change the world.

In turn, capitalism also gives way to “creative destruction”.

Creative Destruction – refers to the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace out dated ones.

Think about the VHS being replaced by CDs, CDs replaced by DVDs, DVDs replaced by Blu-ray, and Blu-ray replaced by digital/cloud storage.

What happened to all the workers who relied on the VHS, CD, DVD, and Blu-ray industry? What happened to these companies?

With the acquisition of Whole Foods and the announcement of Amazon’s interest in launching a meal kit service, grocers around the nation all shivered in fear. Costco, Kroger’s, and Target all felt this fear in their stocks

The immediate questions I think about are:

What will happen to all the grocery stores when Amazon crushes them? The people that work there? And the farmers that supply these local grocers and farmers markets?

Will all these people and products be replaced by an Amazon Fresh Direct box at your front door over the span of a few years? Maybe, maybe not, who knows…

The important thing to realize is that the demand for certain skills in the market will suddenly spike (i.e. computer science), but demand for other skills will see a dramatic drop in the market.

More importantly, if you are working in an industry that is going to be automated (drivers, cashiers, in-person retail), then it is critical to start thinking about the future and how your current skill set fits into the future.

More traditional jobs will disappear as new technologies emerge, but new/better jobs will be available. These new jobs will require a different set of knowledge and skills.

Make sure your job isn’t being replaced by a robot. If it is, then you better start pivoting your career or start learning new skills.

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Hong Kong Supermarket Won’t Be Crushed

Companies that have had a competitive advantage have been able to avoid the massive Amazon footprint.

Home Depot, Walmart, and Costco are examples of retail giants that have managed thrive in this harsh e-commerce environment.

One more store to add to this list is… Hong Kong Supermarket!

New York City is one of the most expensive cities to live in and it’s a miracle that a grocery store like Hong Kong Supermarket even exists in downtown Manhattan.

Chinatown has been well known as one of the most affordable places in Manhattan to grab a meal. The service is questionable, but the prices are not! The local suppliers of Chinese stores and restaurants manage to somehow maintain low prices in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Chinatown, especially Hong Kong Supermarket, has had some of the most affordable products in all on Manhattan.

How affordable? Let me show you.

The Difference Is Huge – $14,345,863 Huge

You won’t find a perfectly stacked display of apples (that never seems to change) in Hong Kong Supermarket. Rather, you will find reasonable amounts of produce amidst a chaotic mass of people.

It’s worth noting that it is the produce and meat that is far cheaper than the alternatives at Whole Foods. Other processed foods like boxed cereals and potato chips are roughly the same price.

Ignore the processed foods that lead to obesity and go for the real savings. The real savings can be found in the meat and produce section of their store.

Below is a list of common grocery store items that I purchase all the time. The first column is the price of the item at Whole Foods, the second column being the price of the same item in Hong Kong Supermarket, the third column representing the difference in dollars, and the fourth column representing the difference in percentages.

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Just look at the price of an avocado at Whole Foods, $2.50, compared to the price at Hong Kong Supermarket, only $1.00 per avocado. That is a %150 mark up!

That is an insane difference in price! Based off these few items, the premium you pay to shop at a store like Whole Foods will cost on average %131 more!

Let me draw up the difference in real numbers over a lifetime.

Let’s assume you earn $50,000 a year and you spend roughly $151 on food a week at Whole Foods (based on this article). That comes out $7,248 a year.

If you shopped at Hong Kong Supermarket, your yearly bill will be decreased to about $3,167, which leaves you with $4,081 in savings every year!

If you invested this savings amount every year and let it accumulate interest, you would end up having over 14 million dollars in savings over 50 years (assuming an 8% annual growth rate)!

That is $14,345,863 you can save by simply changing the destination where you shop!

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*Site used for this image*

A simple change in where you decide to buy your food and more importantly, your groceries, can set you up for a high savings rate! Take the effort to find local grocers near you that sell the same products at reasonable prices.

It is not hard to find a bargain in the city. What is hard is the willingness to travel further and put effort into shopping at places that have the best value.

Shopping at Hong Kong Supermarket as compared to Whole Foods (or any other similar foods store) can reduce our food costs by over %50! 

Take the time to find a bargain as it can make all the difference.

You work hard for your money, you should work hard to keep it.

-Jack

 

P.S. Below are all the photos I took to do my research for this article. On the left are Whole Foods items and on the right is the comparable item from Hong Kong Supermarket.

Avocado’s – Whole Foods: $2.50 VS Hong Kong Supermarket $1.00

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Carrots – Whole Foods: $1.29 VS Hong Kong Supermarket $0.69

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Yellow Onions – Whole Foods: $1.49 VS Hong Kong Supermarket: $0.49

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Russet Potato – Whole Foods: $0.99 VS Hong Kong Supermarket: $0.69

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Cauliflower – Whole Foods: $3.99 vs Hong Kong Supermarket: $1.49

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Salmon – Whole Foods: $14.99/lb VS Hong Kong Supermarket: $7.49/lb

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Ribeye Steak – Whole Foods: $24.99/lb VS Hong Kong Supermarket: $10.99/lb

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Chicken Breasts – Whole Foods: $8.99/lb VS Hong Kong Supermarket: $2.99/lb

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7 comments

  1. It’s such a coincidence that I was just discussing this very topic with some of my friends in the city haha. We were always wondering how the hell Chinatown managed to keep its produce prices so cheap compared to chains like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I read a few articles that said that Chinatown supermarkets and local fruit/veggie vendors on Mott Street, Grand Street, etc. are able to keep their prices so low because they pay essentially no overhead costs (no fancy displays just cardboard boxes, no refrigerators used for storage, purchasing in bulk from smaller local independent farmers, etc). Let’s just hope the big corporations don’t buy out the independent produce retailers…

    On the other hand, for calculating the return in the sample case, wouldn’t we put $340 for the monthly deposit? We’d be saving $4,081 annually, not monthly, no? Maybe I’m calculating incorrectly or reading it wrong… Either way, we’d still be saving over a $1,000,000 for simply changing where we shop for groceries.

    Great post as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes absolute sense that cutting out all the fluff keeps expenses low. Makes sense for us and Chinatown.

      My friend brought up a concern that there may be cultural barriers to shopping or eating in Chinatown. (1) I think it’s a shame that people won’t enter an ethnic store simple because they are not that ethnicity. (2) maybe this barrier will keep the big corporations away from Chinatown!

      Like

  2. We found that food was a bigger money leak for us than cars and housing. We had to change to higher quality food, ditch processed foods, etc. due to health issues. If you don’t have a Hong Kong Market, look around your own community. Ours has a Hispanic market with great produce offered for less than our chain grocery store. I haven’t been there as we grow our own produce but I’ve heard my daughter and her friends rave about the deals they get there.

    I know we never considered food cost as an actual percentage of our budget until we started deliberately trying to grow money. We had to eat and we just bought what we needed. One day we sat down and downloaded a month’s expense into Excel. When we summed up what had actually gone for food, we were stunned. It was more than our house payment at the time. Now we eat better and spend way less – go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point!

      Food is the #1 expense after housing and travelling costs. We can all make smarter food decisions.

      It’s far easier to go out and eat a $10-$15 meal than it is to go home and cook.

      Like

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