In his latest and presumably final shareholder letter, which dropped today, Jeff Bezos noted one statistic that speaks volumes (by the way, we’ve compiled all his previous letters here):
“Half of all purchases” on Amazon, he writes, “are finished in less than 15 minutes. Compare that to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving, parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour.”
In other words, Amazon is not simply in the retail business, it is in the business of saving people time. When observers belittle Amazon’s achievement of one-click shopping or one-day shipping, they forget the importance of time.
That’s one reason the financial services sector is eyeing Amazon with such deep concern. The last time I called my bank, I felt lucky to be done in less than an hour. And the last time I took out an insurance policy or disputed a card charge, it was a weeks-long ordeal. Remember: Your inconveniences are Amazon's opportunity.
The Amazonification of financial services is in some ways what fintech broadly is all about. True, the words “bank” and “insurance” and “loan” do not appear in the text of Bezos's latest shareholder letter.
But as our latest research shows, Amazon certainly has financial services in its cross-hairs.