Jeff Bezos Warns Consumers Halt Big Purchases Ahead of Prolonged Economic Downturn

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men on the planet, is warning consumers and small businesses to delay big purchases in case of a prolonged economic downturn.

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In an interview with CNN, Bezos said that putting off purchases for big-ticket items such as new cars, televisions and appliances is the surest way to keep some “dry powder.”

“Take some risk off the table,” he told CNN. “Just a little bit of risk reduction could make the difference.”

Last week, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index showed that confidence is deteriorating, with the index falling to 54.7, down from 59.9 in October.

Commenting on the survey, Jeffrey Roach, Chief Economist for LPL Financial, said that “in November, consumers became more pessimistic about future plans relative to last month.”

“The vast majority of consumers think now is a bad time to buy a major household item, a vehicle or a home. A pessimistic consumer foreshadows slower consumer spending, which is roughly 70% of the U.S. economy,” he added.

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While inflation cooled off a bit in October, decreasing to 7.7% — the first time the 12-month figure was below 8% since February, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released Nov. 10 — Americans and companies alike are still feeling the pinch from high prices.

Bezos’ comments also coincide with reports that Amazon is set to lay off 10,000 people starting this week.

The New York Times reported that the cuts will be in corporate and technology jobs and would represent the largest job cuts in the company’s history.

“Yep, the probabilities in this economy tell you to batten down the hatches,” Bezos had previously tweeted, according to an excerpt from his CNN interview seen above.

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Bezos has a net worth of $122 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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