To fully appreciate the way online shopping is transforming the economy, look at how much Amazon spends to put packages on doorsteps around the world.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has shelled out more than $14 billion on shipping in the first nine months of this year, up 36 percent from the same period last year. If the trend continues, Amazon could easily spend another $7 billion, if not more, on shipping in the holiday quarter — a record sum that reflects the ongoing shift toward e-commerce and away from traditional stores.
The $7 billion figure is a conservative estimate, assuming 30 percent growth over the company’s gross shipping costs of $5.6 billion for the 2016 holiday quarter. That’s slightly less than its growth of 35 percent between the 2015 and 2016 holiday quarters, and similar growth between the 2014 and 2015 holiday quarters.