Amazon is reportedly adding athleisure and fitness clothing to its house lines of apparel, according to December job postings parsed by Jason Del Rey at Re/Code.
The listings for brand manager positions call for an ideal candidate with a “passion for sport, athletes and those living an active lifestyle” and “experience studying (athletic, activewear) trends, customer behavior and shopping patterns,” according to Re/Code.
Amazon declined to comment, according to the report.
Amazon has a penchant for developing private-label brands in many categories, including electronics, consumer products and food, using its deep intelligence from customer feedback and sales to see which categories have the most potential.
“Amazon has unique benefits in terms of data they have from customer behaviors and their background in e-commerce that allows them to create products that customers really like,” OneClickRetail’s JT Meng (who once worked for Amazon on its private label effort) told Retail Dive. “That has made their conservative slow burn approach very effective.”
Indeed, a November report from consumer research firm 1010data Market Insights found those efforts are seeing massive success, even emerging as the online leader in some categories, showing that Amazon is dominating when the product categories include commodities like baby wipes and batteries where price stands out as a differentiator. Amazon Elements, a consumer product line including baby wipes available exclusively to the retailer's Prime members, is “cleaning up market share,” increasing 266% year over year according to 1010data. Based on total dollars sold among the top 10 brands, Amazon now controls 16% of the baby wipes market, just behind Huggies (33%) and Pampers (26%).
While Lululemon, the retailer that arguably sparked the athleisure craze, this summer said it’s bracing itself for a slowdown in the trend, Amazon may know better. In any case, Lululemon and other rivals in the space should prepare themselves for Amazon’s entry.
“No matter the market, the challenge for brands in an increasing number of categories is that Amazon is the top online channel,” 1010data senior vice president of marketing Jed Alpert said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. “Reasons for Amazon’s success across different markets vary. In batteries, they have a price-competitive product in a largely commoditized market with little brand loyalty. In speakers, they’ve developed truly innovative products that are redefining the market. The bottom line for brands is they can no longer view Amazon as solely a channel and need to acknowledge Amazon as a competitor.”