There’s a good reason online shopping increased during the pandemic — for many Americans it was a lifeline, offering a convenient and safe connection to groceries and everyday essentials. And not much has changed since some lockdowns have lifted and vaccination rates have slowly increased, with more consumers still opting for online shopping over frequenting in-person retail stores.
No company has been better positioned to accommodate the uptick in online transactions than online retail giant Amazon, which saw $108.5 billion in earnings in the first quarter of 2021, shattering already high profit expectations. Though Amazon makes it convenient for consumers to shop online at any time, the world’s biggest e-commerce site can be a tough sell for those hoping to support local businesses, since Amazon’s fees cut into small-business owners’ profits. (If that concerns you, there are several other e-commerce sites, like Etsy and Cultivate, as well as websites designed to connect you with small businesses in your area.)
But the good news is that you can use Amazon while supporting local businesses, through the site’s Support Small page. Between June 2019 and May 2020, more than 1.9 million small and medium US businesses listed their products on Amazon, according to the company’s 2020 Small Business Impact Report. Those third-party companies sold more than 3.4 billion products, or more than half of all products purchased on the site. (Amazon uses the Gartner definition of small and medium businesses — that is, small businesses are those that earn less than $50 million annually, and medium or midsize businesses are those that earn $50 million or more, but less than $1 billion in annual revenue.) Amazon doesn’t have a specific filter for things made in the USA — an idea that continually polls well — so you’ll need to rely on a manufacturer’s promises if that’s important to you.