Pepper spray and Black Lives Matter merchandise are selling like hot cakes on Amazon as "I can't breathe" protests continue to hold the sway across the US, revealed Amazon's sales rankings. The top e-commerce site has listed self-defense items, books on racial justice and Black Lives Matter t-shirts and hats among top-selling items in many categories of its Best Sellers page.
This shows that protests against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd have created a consumer preference in the same direction. American cities continued to see protests on Monday, even as an independent autopsy report revealed that Floyd's death was a homicide and was caused by asphyxiation from sustained pressure.
Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer who was caught in the footage kneeling on Floyd's neck for than eight minutes, is now in custody, charged with murder and manslaughter.
T-Shirts, Pepper Spray and Taser Rank High
Amazon's Sports and Outdoors category showed pepper spray as the top-selling item, along with a rechargeable taser that ranked 44, showing that more consumers bought self-defense items amid protests turning violent in some areas.
The outrage reflected even in Amazon's novelty clothing section's Best Sellers page. Two "I can't breathe" t-shirts grossed as top 10 best selling items. A Black Lives Matter shirt was ranked 60, a steep rise from last Friday, Juozas Kaziukenas, running the e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse told CNBC.
The book "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" is one of the top-selling items and "How to Be an Antiracist," and "We're Different, We're the Same" is ranked third and seventh respectively.
Amazon updates its rankings every hour to show "recent and historical sales." It is not known if some other factors get consideration in determining Best Seller rankings.
Kaziukenas said Amazon tracked Best Sellers on the basis of search volume and such data is shared with vendors and not to the public. Activism-based merchandise could also be used as a means for donating to those causes, he added. "Amazon takes a cut of each sale. All of that should be donated if Amazon cared."