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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.
Euromonitor International estimates that Amazon US sold $24.6 billion of clothing and footwear in 2017, of which $20 billion was sold by third-party sellers. We estimate that this total would place Amazon roughly level with Walmart, America’s biggest apparel seller—although we note that Walmart achieves this position primarily through first-party sales while Amazon is largely transacting third-party sales.
But with that awesome power comes...strange choices. For some of us, that one-click checkout button can lead to some unusual impulse buys. For others, it's all too easy to start browsing Amazon in a late-night haze, saying yes to things you'd ordinarily never consider you needed in your life. But now that you've got a five-pound bag of Skittles or a dedicated wall-mounted purse hanger in your life, you've got to make the most of it, right?
Those risks led GWW stock to essentially stall out starting in 2013. And they came home to roost last year. Disappointing earnings — particularly, falling margins — seemed to signal that pressure from Amazon was a real problem. By September, GWW traded at its lowest levels in almost six years. Grainger seemed destined to be another dominant business undone by a nimbler online competitor.
The concept parallels Amazon’s bookstores, which largely feature books that are well-reviewed by customers, and use shelf tags to display the average review score and sometimes feature excerpts from the reviews. The 4-Star store sports electronic tags with each item that update dynamically to provide an average of stars awarded in reviews and the total number of reviews.
In January 2008, Amazon began distributing its MP3 service to subsidiary websites worldwide and, in December 2008, Amazon MP3 was made available in the UK. At the launch of Amazon MP3 in the UK, over 3 million Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free songs were made available to consumers, with prices that started at 59p, compared to Apple's 79p starting price.
Amazon Prime membership in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and the United States also provides Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected films and TV programs at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members had access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows users to borrow up to one a month of specified popular Kindle e-books. People with an email address at an academic domain such as .edu or .ac.uk, typically students, are eligible for Prime Student privileges, including discounts on Prime membership.
Our survey confirmed that Walmart was the most-shopped retailer for clothing and footwear over the past 12 months. Amazon is neck and neck with Target as America’s second-most-shopped retailer for clothing and footwear. That does not directly imply that Amazon is America’s second-biggest apparel retailer by sales, however, as shoppers’ average spend and frequency of purchase both factor into this metric.
In December 2015, Amazon stated that "tens of millions" of people are Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime added 3 million members during the third week of December 2015. It was also during December that Amazon announced the creation of the Streaming Partners Program, an over-the-top subscription service that enables Amazon Prime subscribers to add additional streaming video services to their accounts. Among the programming providers involved in the program are Showtime, Starz (with additional content from sister network Encore), Lifetime Movie Club (containing recent original movie titles from Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network), Smithsonian Earth, and Qello Concerts.