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Every job in e-commerce: four and a half jobs are lost






According to a new study, it was found that 56,000 stores have closed in the U.S. and 670,000 net jobs (9.6% of the total) have been lost since 2008. E-commerce has wreaked destruction, permanently wiping jobs out of the economy and lowering profits for the entire industry, per the report. The study was conducted by credit insurance company Euler Hermes. Department stores have been hit hardest. Nearly a quarter of the sector’s jobs have been lost since 2008, according to Euler Hermes. ​Hence the term “destructive destruction,” used by research, rather than the “creative destruction” that some economists see as essential to economic progress. Moreover, 41% of retailers have seen their profit margins decrease in that timeframe. Those various retail losses have tracked with the expansion of e-commerce. But for every job created in e-commerce, four and a half jobs are lost by traditional retailers, according to the study.  Duthoit, sector advisor for retail, technology and household equipment with Euler Hermes, estimates that continued e-commerce penetration could eliminate another 500,000 jobs and 30,000 retail establishments by 2025.  E-commerce is largely a ‘winner-take-most’ business where leaders have a commanding share of sales, and more importantly, of profits. Duthoit​​ cites Amazon and eBay as the only two discretionary e-commerce companies with both a strong track record of profitability and significant clout. According to the study, efforts to boost e-commerce bring new expenses and risks, and won’t necessarily save a distressed retailer. Among the dozens of large retailers to file over the past three years, many described an environment where shoppers quickly shifted their behavior, reducing mall visits and increasing their online shopping. Some of those companies were able to reorganize and return to the business of retailing a little leaner. Some forces could cause e-commerce’s rapid growth to stall according to the Euler Hermes report. Those forces include policy measures, such as antitrust action against dominant e-commerce firms, such as, Amazon is currently facing multiple investigations into its practices and carbon pricing.

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