Five slightly mind-blowing things we learnt from our Amazon survey

Amazon is the beast that ate shopping. In the US, Amazon is responsible for 43% of all online sales and is worth more than all the big bricks-and-mortar retailers put together. About a quarter of the US population pays for Prime membership (more figures). There’s an extraordinary battle going on in the US right now – 238 towns and cities are bidding billions for the right to host Amazon’s ‘second HQ’ (In Seattle, home of the first one, 7.5% of the working-age population works for the firm).

Amazon came to the UK in 1999 – its first major market outside the US – so we’ve had plenty of time to get used to buying all our stuff from the Seattle monster. And, although they don’t publish the numbers, we’re probably just as addicted as the Americans.

Radlett’s in an Amazon sweet spot. We’re close enough to the big warehouses to have access to all of the company’s services – from the basic delivery service to groceries (including Whole Foods, the upmarket food retailer bought by Amazon earlier this year) and the Amazon Prime Now app, so you can order practically anything for delivery within an hour. Step outside your front door during daylight and there’s a reasonable chance you’ll see an Amazon delivery happening. Radlett is the kind of prosperous suburban community that forms the backbone of Amazon’s profitability everywhere. We’re a kind of case study for Amazon’s take-over of UK retail.

So, we wanted to know how Radlett relates to Amazon. The anonymous survey is still live so please take two minutes to complete it if you haven’t already. There are ten questions and a box for you to type what you think of the company. If you complete the survey you get to see the complete results at the end. Fascinating reading.

Here are five insights from the survey results:

We shop with Amazon all the time

Graph showing Radlett Amazon shopping
Over 85% of respondents shop at least once per month with Amazon. For almost a third of us it’s ‘several times per week’! This is the kind of loyalty that any retailer would kill for.

We spend a lot

Graph showing how much people in Radlett spend with Amazon
64.2% of us spend at least £50 per month with Amazon and nearly a fifth (17%) of respondents say they spend over £200 per month. That’s a lot of money: the average household grocery spend in the UK is £53 per week.

We love Amazon Prime

Graph showing the number of people in Radlett who pay for an Amazon Prime subscription
Nearly three-quarters (71.2%) of respondents pay for Amazon Prime – the service that provides free delivery and access to lots of other services, from free Kindle downloads to music streaming. This is really telling. Radlett has a major Amazon addiction.

We dig one-hour delivery

Graph showing how many people in Radlett use the Amazon Prime Now app
Prime Now represents the next stage of Amazon dependence. A mobile app that gives you free one-hour delivery on groceries – from Amazon, Morrisons and Whole Foods (plus loads of other products held in the Hemel Hempstead warehouse). 30.2% of respondents use it or have tried it. We’ve certainly used the app in our house and the delivery drivers I’ve spoken to confirm that we’re not untypical in using the app to get emergency booze supplies midway through dinner!

We’re Amazon nuts

Graph showing the attitude of Radlett residents to Amazon
Not to put too fine a point on it, respondents to our survey are hopelessly in love with Amazon. 84.9% are either positive or very positive about the company. 28.3% ticked the box labelled ‘Very positive – I’ve become completely dependent’. And only 3.8% of us have any negative feelings at all, ticking the box labelled ‘Quite negative – I’m not comfortable with their market power but will use them occasionally’.

Radlett Wire’s Amazon survey

If you live in Radlett you live in an Amazon sweet spot. You can get free, one-hour delivery of practically everything in the warehouse and you can use all of the company’s services, including grocery delivery and the Prime Now mobile app. But not everyone likes the Seattle behemoth. Do you? Take our Amazon survey and we’ll share the results with you, here and on Twitter and Facebook.

The Post Office delivery office in Radlett is closing

A closed sign

UPDATE, 27 June: I dropped into the Post Office on Saturday to grill the always friendly and helpful staff there about the fate of the branch. They were, understandably, reluctant to speak out of turn and stuck to the official line that the branch will not be closed. However, it was suggested that they’d know more about the location of the branch in a month or so. Speculating wildly now: maintaining the Post Office counter business in the current Post Office premises might not be sustainable once the delivery office has been closed, so a ‘back-of-the-shop’ location – in, for instance, Budgen or Chocolate Box – or a full-on shopfront operation in one of the village’s empty shops would make perfect sense. I’ll stress that this is just guesswork on my part right now and the Post Office’s official line is that no ‘relocation’ is planned. Watch this space, as they say in other exciting, fast-moving news outlets.

Staff at the Radlett post office have begun to tell customers that the delivery office at the back will close early next year. Barry Allsuch, local estate agent, tweeted (in a Direct Message to @RadlettWire) this week that he’d been told the closure would also affect the post office branch at the front, an even nastier prospect for Radlett people. The Watford Oberver’s 24 May story is based on this press release:


Royal Mail announced today (Tuesday 24 May) that Radlett Delivery Office, 122 Watling Street, RADLETT WD7 7AF will be relocated to its Borehamwood office in early 2012.

Faced with declining mail volumes and increasingly tough trading conditions, Royal Mail constantly reviews the operational efficiency and commercial practicality of all its units. As part of our business-wide investment and modernisation programme, Royal Mail is investing in new technology and equipment and upgraded operational facilities to ensure we have world class facilities which provide the most efficient and effective network for delivering the post.

At the same time we need to respond to the huge growth in electronic communications and the resulting decline in overall mail volumes which in the UK means that there are now 16 million fewer letters posted every day compared to five years ago.

The move of the Radlett operation which delivers mail to customers in the WD7 postcode area will provide improved working conditions, secure more cost effective operation.

Detailed planning for the move will take place in the coming weeks and months to ensure a smooth transition for our customers and staff in Radlett. Following the move customers will be able to collect mail from Borehamwood Delivery Office, 23 Shenley Road, BOREHAMWOOD WD6 1AF on the occasions when we have not been able to deliver first time and have left a card. For customers who prefer not to visit the enquiry office in person, Royal Mail offers a free redelivery service which can be accessed online or by calling the number on the card we leave. The delivery of mail will continue to meet Royal Mail’s specifications.

Royal Mail’s Thames Valley Delivery Director, Gary Burgess said: “We are telling our people about the move now before the detailed planning starts. We want to be able to work with our people on the change and have the opportunity to discuss the implications individually.”

There will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of this change and Royal Mail will also reimburse its people for any extra mileage incurred as a result of the move.

I contacted the press office looking for an official line. Val Antoine came back with these fairly unequivocal words:

I can confirm there are no plans to relocate Radlett Post Office.

I’ll keep an eye on this and please leave a comment if you know more. It seems to me that a good way to diminish a bustling small town of 9,000 is to take away its Post Office.