The main body of this report discusses our survey findings, question by question. We have also provided an appendix that aggregates various third-party research firms’ estimates of Amazon’s US apparel sales in order to give readers a more complete picture. First, though, we bring together data points from various questions in our survey as we discuss six major themes that emerged from our research.
Target has lost the most in terms of apparel shoppers who have switched some or all of their apparel spending to Amazon, with Walmart in second place. This is the reverse of these two retailers’ overall ranking in terms of apparel retail, as Walmart is a significantly bigger clothing and footwear retailer than Target, as measured by both sales and shopper numbers.
To find out which retailers have lost spending to Amazon, we asked respondents if they now spend more of their apparel budget on Amazon than they did about three years ago (this includes if they started shopping for apparel on Amazon in that time). We then asked those shoppers who had increased their apparel spending on Amazon which retailers they had switched some or all of their spending from.
Carnival of Souls is a film in the vein of Night of the Hunter: artistically ambitious, from a first-time director, but largely overlooked in its initial release until its rediscovery years later. Granted, it’s not the masterpiece of Night of the Hunter, but it’s a chilling, effective, impressive tale of ghouls, guilt and restless spirits. The story follows a woman (Candace Hilligoss) on the run from her past who is haunted by visions of a pale-faced man, beautifully shot (and played) by director Herk Harvey. As she seemingly begins to fade in and out of existence, the nature of her reality itself is questioned. Carnival of Souls is vintage psychological horror on a miniscule budget, and has since been cited as an influence in the fever dream visions of directors such as David Lynch. To me, it’s always felt something like a movie-length episode of The Twilight Zone, and I mean that in the most complimentary way I can. Rod Serling would no doubt have been a fan. —Jim Vorel
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited offers unlimited access to 13,000 kids' books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. For Prime members it's $2.99/month for a single child or $6.99 for a family of up to four children. Parents can set controls like time limits and content filters, and personalize the experiences of each child profile. It's available on Fire Tablets (books, videos, apps), Kindle eReaders (books), and Android phones and tablets (books, videos).
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In April, Amazon said more than 100 million people around the world pay for its Prime subscription, which in May went up to $119 from $99 a year in the U.S. The NPR/Marist poll found that among Americans, roughly 75 million online shoppers pay for Prime — plus another 35 million use someone else's account. Put together, almost two-thirds of American online shoppers are living inside the Amazon retail universe.
In a voice test of various categories using the Amazon Echo devices last year, researchers at Bain & Co., found in categories in which Amazon offered a private-label product, Alexa recommended those products 17 percent of the time. Noting that the private label goods represent only about 2 percent of total volume sold, the Bain researchers said, “the online retailer clearly positions its own private labels favorably in voice shopping.”
Nevertheless, our survey found that Amazon apparel shoppers are highly satisfied with the Amazon Fashion shopping experience. In fact, 65% cited the ease of browsing and searching Amazon Fashion as a reason for buying clothing or footwear on the site, ahead of factors such as choice and price. Moreover, only 12% of Amazon apparel shoppers said that they thought the site could be made easier to browse.
Even considering that the teams launching private-label brands at Amazon have unrestricted access to programs like Vine reviews, they are still “paying” for these perks. The Vine review program is not a fully automated process that runs in the background. It requires technical and human resources to manage thousands of Vine reviewers and product review requests from vendors. Amazon is matching reviewers with samples and shipping the samples out, managing customer service, and maintaining the infrastructure of the program. You can bet that there are heated internal battles for Vine review program privileges on new product launches, even if the internal team is not personally dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on the activity like brands have to do.
“I think, effectively, you have a company that has conspired with about a billion consumers and technology to destroy brands,” argued Scott Galloway, a founder of business research firm now called Gartner L2 and a professor of marketing at New York University Stern School of Business, in a presentation last year. “Their attitude is that brands have, for a long time, earned an unearned price premium that screws consumers.”
In March 2014, Amazon increased the annual US membership fee for Amazon Prime from $79 to $99. Shortly after this change, Amazon announced Prime Music, providing unlimited, ad-free music streaming. In November 2014, Amazon added Prime Photos, adding unlimited storage of files deemed to be photographs in the users' Amazon Drive. Amazon began offering free same-day delivery to Prime members in 14 United States metropolitan areas in May 2015.
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.