But rapid growth has turned Amazon into a symbol of a dominant multinational that opponents say imports unwanted American consumerism as well as job instability and environmental degradation into the eurozone’s second-largest economy.
Ahead of the announcement, Le Maire and other politicians urged customers not to give Amazon their business.
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and environmental organizations and trade groups circulated an online petition entitled “Noël Sans Amazon” (“An Amazon-Free Christmas”). Addressed to Santa, it commits to the signatories of a “#ChristmasWithoutAmazon” described as a tax evasion grinch that destroys small businesses, jobs and the environment.
But Amazon’s influence in France – it owns about 20 percent of the French e-commerce market – is such that other major retailers held back from agreeing to postpone their Black Friday sales until Amazon did.
After Le Maire told the French Senate on Wednesday that it made sense to help small retailers by postponing Black Friday, Frédéric Duval, CEO of Amazon France, told a French radio station on Thursday that Amazon “listened to the government’s recommendations” and would postpone its online sales until December 4, paving the way for a broad deal.
Still, the fate of French politicians to appease the wrath of small businesses has reopened a broader controversy over Black Friday itself, which was not even an event in Europe until a few years ago. It was mainly heralded by Amazon, which began promoting major sales in lock-in steps with those in the US.