In early December, pharmacy chain CVS decided to move big time into the insurance market by purchasing Aetna for $69 billion—a move clearly motivated by Amazon, which was preparing to scale up its pharmaceuticals division. With the e-commerce giant possibly on track to be worth a trillion dollars by next year, retailers in a number of areas are wondering how they can possibly compete with Jeff Bezos and his eerily efficient army of robots and contractors.
Even places that sell large, heavy stuff are starting to worry, like Home Depot, which is now reportedly considering buying shipping and logistics company XPO. According to Recode, “ a person familiar with Home Depot’s thinking” says that the retailer is seriously considering making a bid for the $9 billion company, though neither party involved will comment.
The acquisition could make it easier for Home Depot to compete with Amazon by offering improved home delivery options for goods like furniture, appliances, tools, and construction supplies. Though Amazon has made inroads into Home Depot’s market, it’s one of the few retail sectors analysts say is generally resistant. According to the Wall Street Journal, XPO itself was one of the companies Amazon planned to partner with while preparing a push into the furniture market earlier this year.
One factor in the rumored plan is keeping XPO out of Amazon’s hands, according to Recode. If Amazon purchased it instead, Home Depot could lose access to a major home delivery service.
It’s a sign of the times that even companies that sell some of the least convenient to ship things you can buy now have to worry about Amazon, which is rapidly approaching monopoly status if it isn’t there already. Staying one step ahead of Jeff Bezos’ empire isn’t impossible, but it’s hardly an enviable position to be in—though arguably better than, say, being one of Amazon’s low-wage contractors tasked to lug around a dishwasher.