Amazon’s expansion into apparel is one of the hottest topics in US retail—not least because many commentators link the ongoing woes of major department stores to shoppers shifting more of their apparel spending to Amazon Fashion. Yet hard data on Amazon’s share of the clothing and footwear markets is scarce, given the company’s limited disclosure on category sales.
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Indeed, Amazon casts a long shadow over a number of industries. Grocery stocks plunged when the company acquired Whole Foods Market last year. Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) and CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) fell when the company acquired PillPack this summer, and an eventual entry by Amazon into the pharmacy space still hangs over the sector. The 2016 launch of Amazon Prints sent Shutterfly (NASDAQ:SFLY) down 12%.
Amazon released branded semiconductors to home equipment designers who are working on Internet-of-Things devices, WiFi routers and other smart home appliances. The chips come from Annapurna Labs, which Amazon purchased in 2015 for a rumored $350 million. On January 7, 2016, the company announced that its Alpine chipset was available for a wide range of applications.
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.