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Amazon Prime Day 2020: UK consumers urged to boycott sale and support small retailers

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
An Amazon logo is seen at its centre in Darlington, County Durham, Britain September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith
Amazon fulfillment centre in Darlington, County Durham, UK. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

UK consumers are being urged to forego Amazon Prime Day this year, and instead get behind small retailers.

The annual event sees prices slashed on thousands of products, and is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

For years, Amazon’s (AMZN) market dominance has made it difficult for small businesses to compete. That has been exacerbated by coronavirus lockdowns, as shoppers have moved to buy things online.

Amazon has been one of the few companies increasing its worker count during the pandemic, as warehouses and deliveries were overwhelmed during lockdowns.

Now, consumers are being called on to think about their choices. Ethical Consumer, which has been a long-time advocate of smaller businesses, said of Amazon on its website: “The world's biggest online retailer is generating huge revenues in the UK but paying very little corporation tax.”

It also highlights Amazon’s treatment of its workers and the environment as reasons to look further afield.

Watch: Why have job losses risen despite the economy reopening?

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has also spoken out against Amazon in the past.

Andrew Goodacre, BIRA’s CEO, said: “Despite the lure of the convenience of the internet, nothing can beat the positive experience of buying from a local independent retailer; knowing that money spent in a local shop will, in turn, be spent in the local economy.

“Independent retailers are part of the community and need the support of shoppers now more than ever. We urge people to spend their money there and help futureproof the high street.”

Amazon Prime Day 2020 precedes Black Friday in November, a day when scores of retailers sell goods at cut prices. Amazon is usually among those offering big discounts.

READ MORE: German workers announce Amazon Prime Day 2020 strikes over pay and corona conditions

Amazon is making efforts to support small businesses and has pledged £75m ($98m) globally on activities to help smaller retailers.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We are investing heavily in creating jobs and infrastructure across the UK – more than £23bn since 2010. The UK has now become one of Amazon’s largest global hubs for talent and this year we announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs in the country by the end of 2020, taking our total workforce to over 40,000. This continued investment helped contribute to a total tax contribution of £1.1bn during 2019 – £293m in direct taxes and £854m in indirect taxes.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Amazon is also feeling the heat of protests against Amazon Prime Day.

German workers have threatened to strike over pay and coronavirus conditions.

Watch: Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2020