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Wants vs. needs: Amazon and Apple’s $1 trillion valuations

Apple Inc. first reached a $1 trillion in mid-August, and after a brief dip, drove to a $1.1 trillion market cap by Tuesday's close. Amazon is not far behind at $994 billion as of Tuesday and has been rapidly catching up. On a year-over-year basis, Amazon's market cap has been growing at an average rate of $79 billion while Apple has been growing at a rate of $21 billion per month since the start of the year.

Year-to-date, shares of Amazon are up 71.2%, while Apple stock is up about 33%.

The rapid growth of both companies shows their grip on the world's greatest resource, consumerism, and the most basic decision consumers need to make, to satisfy a want over a need. Amazon's growth into the U.S. market place and culture has been driven by its convenience and economies of scale that would make Wal-Mart blush. The company's website allows shoppers to satisfy both their wants and needs seconds apart without having to leave their house, ultimately driving Amazon's bottom line. As of June 2017, the company had an operating income of $7.4 billion. Much of that convenience, as well as access to thousands of other businesses, is facilitated by Apple's iPhone, the company's largest revenue driver and possibly the most important human invention since the internet. The phone itself straddles the line between wants and needs as the $700+ handsets have inched their way into nearly every facet of life, allowing a constant stream of information, advertising and spending opportunities.