Amazon Dominates Apparel

wholesale amazon apparelTHIS is an important article based upon studies and information results compiled with regards to Amazon’s growth in the retail apparel industry. It is predicted that by 2019 Amazon will be the largest apparel retailer in the United States. And the toughest lesson for those in the industry is that Amazon doesn’t have to be better at fashion to stake that claim, it only needs to be “just OK.” Apparently none of their offerings such as lackluster lines like Peak Volocity and Rebel Canyon, neither of which embody any type of superior fashion or high style matters. They are the new King in the apparel world.


THE traditional fashion retailers just have not kept up with the momentum in apparel. What was the last breakthrough trend or fashion revolution introduced by a major brand in the last decade? It has been years since Gap launched any new fashion revolutions, instead they continue with their flower dress lines and capri pants. Certainly not trailblazing. Meantime Amazon has been steadily growing to more than $3 billion last year alone. It’s now or never for speciality retailers, as some analysts are predicting Amazon’s apparel sales could climb to between $45 billion and $85 billion by fiscal 2020.


BUT the growth of Amazon in apparel is not the only problem. There has been a steady decline in overall apparel sales, leaving a lot of competition in the shrinking market. Amazon is grabbing a big chunk of the market share at a time when American consumers are not spending as much as they once did. In fact, sales in apparel has declined from 6.2 percent of household budgets to only around 3.1 percent.


THIS all started back in 2002 when Amazon was selling apparel lines for other brands in its Marketplace. It mostly enabled apparel sales and positioned itself more as a partner than a competitor. Then around 2016 Amazon made their move to become an apparel maker themselves and rolled out their own fashion lines. Alas, they have now become a competitor to their Marketplace vendors. Surprise!


THEIR willingness to spend money to gain market share enabled their fast growth. When online shoe retailer Zappos became competition, they launched their own shoeline to compete with them. They didn’t beat them at the shoe game, so instead did what they often do when they lose, buy the competition for $1 billion.


DESPITE any vulnerabilities that Amazon has, it can see market demand like no specialty retailer can. It knows what consumers want in almost every product category and across every demographic. That’s a new threat for specialty retailers and department stores.


IS it possible for specialty retailers to adopt convention-busting as a way of life in their businesses. Of course it goes without saying that boring stores are not going to make it. Who will surface as the next Abercrombie & Fitch of the new generation, who shocked shoppers with half nude models, club music and noxious fragrances? That edginess worked for a while, but we are in a new day and age and it is certainly harder to shock or motivate shoppers.


IF specialty retailers try to beat Amazon at their own game they will lose. Amazon is an unstoppable data machine. Data can take them so far and given what we know there is only one defense left against Amazon: Create and introduce breakthrough ideas, fashions and store experiences again. Try something new that will either click or fail fast. This will be quite a daunting task for most retailers and the truth is that many will fall by the wayside in the fight. We always know, independent retailers are resiliant and up to new challenges but this one may be the biggest fight of their life!