At the beginning of the summer, I posited that Amazon bought Whole Foods not as part of a distribution or merchandising strategy but rather because they wanted to cater to the mass affluent consumer.
Now that Amazon has begun the great HQ2 competition, I’d like to take a moment to extend the mass affluent factor to geography. In other words, where would Amazon build its second headquarters if they wanted to keep the mass affluent consumer in mind?
At first glance, this question seems irrelevant. After all, Amazon already sprawls across this country with major offices in places like Newark, NJ and Grand Forks, ND. Myriad distribution centers fill spaces in between. They once got me a router the same day I ordered it in NYC from Kentucky.
That said, companies often relocate to get in touch with an audience or a workforce. Many car manufacturers have design HQs in Southern California to take advantage of the region’s car culture. GE recently announced a move of their headquarters from Fairfield, CT to Boston to attract workers interested in a more cosmopolitan environment (or maybe because GE likes Harvard better than Yale).
So where would Amazon put HQ2 if they wanted to immerse themselves in mass affluence given that they want to avoid the West Coast and such wealthy citadels as Silicon Valley, Santa Barbara and Palm Springs?
Don’t try to make it here
I’ll cross New York City and environs off the list first. Continue reading