Amazon on Monday released a series of holiday buying guides for toys, electronics and home goods curated by product experts, influencers, kids and parents, according to a company press release.
In contrast to its Prime Day event in July, most items are from third-party makers, though Amazon’s own private label goods do pop up in the lists, most notably its Echo and Kindle devices in its electronics options. Amazon said last holiday season was the "best-ever" for its devices.
Holiday shopping will be enabled by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and, on the electronics page, by reviews, videos from influencers in their fields and product demonstration videos, the company said.
Amazon is touting its Alexa-enabled devices and private label goods in its holiday guide, but little mention was made of special holiday deals to be had via Alexa, a prominent feature of Amazon’s approach during its July Prime Day event this year.
At that time, Amazon gave users of the Alexa feature (via Amazon’s speaker devices and app) extra time and extra discounts for Prime Day. For the first time, Amazon device owners could sign up for Prime using just their voice by saying, "Alexa, sign me up for Prime." Those who did, got their first year of Prime at a $20 discount. Voice shoppers were able to ask, "Alexa, what are your deals?" to find out the latest promotions and to be entered into a $5,000 sweepstakes. Customers who made a purchase with Alexa’s help for a limited time also received a bonus $10 promo code.
On Prime Day, for the first time, Amazon’s private label brands Mae (lingerie), Goodthreads (men’s dress shirts), Lark & Ro (women’s dresses) and Buttoned Down (men’s dress shirts) landed in Amazon’s Best Seller rankings in their categories, driven by full-screen visibility on Prime Day’s fashion landing pages, according to a report from digital insights firm L2. Alarmingly for brands, Amazon’s Fashion landing page on Prime Day this year exclusively featured private label products, the research found. And those private labels maintained much of their momentum after Prime Day.
"Amazon’s private label brands were the main beneficiaries of Prime Day, suggesting that in the future there will be fewer opportunities for legacy brands to capitalize on busy Amazon shopping days," L2 said in its report. Brands should expect the holidays to be another time when Amazon promotes its own labels, L2 added.
At the moment, those private brands aren’t the focus of Amazon’s holiday outreach, perhaps because it relies so heavily on its marketplace and because, unlike for its July event, it's competing with so many other retailers at the holidays. Still, Amazon is poised to dominate this year: Roughly 75% of all holiday shoppers (and a whopping 90% of Amazon Prime members) expect to buy from Amazon this year, while just half of consumers said they plan gift shopping at Target and Walmart, according to consulting firm Fung Global Retail & Technology.
Sales of those Amazon devices were nine times higher for the 2016 holiday season than during the 2015 holiday shopping rush, Amazon said last year. Amazon hasn’t provided specific sales numbers, but said in December that "millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa." On Monday, Amazon reiterated that last year more than 72% of its customers worldwide used mobile devices to shop during the holiday season, and that shopping on the Amazon mobile app increased 56% during the period.