Holiday shopping is not exactly stress-free. From the mad dashes on Black Friday to the last-minute running around town, it can really take a toll. This holiday season, take a deep breath, pour yourself a mug of hot apple cider, and get to work on your gift list with Amazon — you'll be done before you know it. From highly-anticipated tech and gadgets to luxe candles to trendy beauty products, the mega e-retailer has quite an expansive offering. Even better: With Amazon Prime, you can get everything on your list (and household essentials) with free two-day shipping, too. Pretty nice, right? Get ready to make this holiday season the simplest, easiest, most fuss-free one ever. And for other great gift ideas, check out Allure's other picks for presents.
Prime members are responsible for pushing Amazon up the “most-shopped retailer” ranking. Among Prime members, Amazon is by far the leading retailer for clothing and footwear, as measured by number of shoppers. This is balanced out by Amazon ranking relatively low among those with no access to Prime: in fact, Amazon is just the seventh-most-popular retailer among those who do not subscribe to Prime.
On January 24, 2016, Amazon launched a new subscription program aimed at parents called STEM Club, which delivers educational toys to your home for $19.99 per month. And by "STEM", toys will be hand-picked and focused on the area of science, technology, engineering and math. The toys will range from robotics to natural sciences and will include items exclusive to Amazon. STEM toy subscription club is only available in the United States.
In April 2014, Amazon announced its Amazon Fire TV set-top box system, a device targeted to compete with such systems like Apple TV or Google's Chromecast device. The Amazon set-top box allows for streaming videos from sites like Amazon's own streaming service as well as others such as Netflix or Hulu. The device also supports voice search for movies, as well as gaming, which includes special versions of Minecraft, Asphalt 8, and The Walking Dead. Amazon announced the Fire TV Stick in October 2014. The device replicates much of the functionality of the Fire TV.
eBay lets you put items items you own up for auction to the highest bidder, which will attract many shoppers who are looking for used, unique, or hard-to-find items. However, the marketplace is also great for offering items at fixed prices. In fact, contrary to what you might think, 86% of eBay's Gross Merchandise Volume is from items sold at a fixed price and 80% of the items sold on the platform are new, not used.
But Amazon holds a unique position in the global marketplace. From its beginnings in 1994, Amazon’s platform was designed to democratize retail. Small vendors or manufacturers could sell outdoor grills, computer bags, and children’s toys alongside established brands. Now, with its expansion into private label, Amazon has shifted away from being an impartial, may-the-best-product-win distribution partner to being a direct competitor to those other vendors.
Amazon may not be able to ship you the aforementioned rich-people stuff, but it is filled with impossibly clever products everyone needs to own. Never again will you wrestle with your fitted sheet or struggle to find the correct lid for your travel mug. Suddenly, under-eye circles, spoiled wine, and pancake batter drips become a thing of the past. You can even effectively pee in the dark without turning the overhead light on. Classy life, right?
In 2005, Amazon announced the creation of Amazon Prime, a membership offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee of $79 (equivalent to $99 in 2017), as well as discounted one-day shipping rates. Amazon launched the program in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom in 2007; in France (as "Amazon Premium") in 2008, in Italy in 2011, in Canada in 2013, and in India on July 26, 2016.