One year after the Amazon/Whole Foods merger, prices at Whole Foods stores have gone down. Amazon Prime members receive discounts on select products and if they use their Amazon credit card they receive 5 percent back. Consumers in many markets can now order groceries online and have them delivered for free. Amazon is expanding the number of stores nationwide. Not surprisingly, consumers appear to like the post-merger changes. Moreover, competitors are fighting back. Kroger, for example, is increasing its stock of organic foods, starting free grocery delivery, and expanding private label goods to reduce prices.
In other words, one year out, the merger has done what its defenders said it would do: improve consumer welfare. But if today’s neo-Brandeisian opponents of all things big had gotten their way, the merger would not have happened. In commentary for Truth on the Market, Rob Atkinson writes that most of the opposition to Amazon/Whole Foods merger had little or nothing to do with economics and consumer welfare. Instead, it had everything to do with a competing vision for the kind of society we want to live in. And the merger took us in the direction most Americans support: a world with higher productivity, lower prices and more consumer choice.