In the first two weeks of the July-September shopping season, Amazon's back-to-school sales grew 35% year over year, way above its 9% bump during the same period last year, according to data from e-commerce research firm One Click Retail. Last year Amazon's back-to-school sales grew by 20% over the course of the full season, and this year’s early numbers suggest a growth potential of more than 80% for the full 2017 back-to-school season, according to the report.
Amazon's laptops and accessories sales have already garnered more than $25 million, and tablet sales have nearly doubled (growing 98%), according to the report, which also noted the e-tailer accounted for more than 20% of total U.S. office product sales in 2016.
Youth apparel is up by 61% over the same two weeks in 2016, representing just a slice of Amazon’s growing apparel business, according to One Click Retail. The research firm previously found that Amazon’s apparel sales grew by 25% in 2016, to a value of $3.4 billion. Meanwhile, shoe sales grew even more, at 35%, bringing Amazon's shoe sales last year to $1.6 billion.
Amazon’s summer sales holiday, Prime Day, conveniently scheduled in early July, is a launching point of sorts for the back-to-school season. Thanks in part to Prime Day, Amazon in the third quarter last year drove 82% of total U.S. e-commerce growth. But back-to-school is an increasingly important season for Amazon during the quarter, too, as it has been for other retailers for years.
"Early back-to-school shopping on Amazon is up 35% in 2017 vs. only 9% in 2016," One Click Retail CEO Spencer Millerberg said in a statement. "While this early indication doesn't necessarily predict the more sales-heavy remainder of [the] 'back-to-school' season, it does show early velocity. It paints a picture that more parents are multi-tasking on Amazon during 'back-to-school night' for those supplies vs. stopping by the store on the way home."
New research from Fung Global Retail & Tech shows how far Amazon has come in apparel, along with how far it has to go. Apparel sales in general are increasingly moving online: 73% of women surveyed have bought womenswear online in the past year. But brick-and-mortar retail still dominates, with 87% of women buying apparel most often at physical stores. While 23.2% of those surveyed have shopped for apparel at Amazon — up from 14.5% in April 2013 — only 1.9% said Amazon was where they shopped most often for clothes. Kohl’s, Walmart and Macy’s still rule in that respect.
The back-to-school season will likely only further kick up Amazon’s apparel sales, particularly its emerging shoe game, according to Nathan Rigby, a partner at One Click Retail who leads sales and marketing. He noted in an earlier report that shoe brands should be paying attention.
"In light of the e-commerce giant’s renewed focus on shoes and fashion, now is the time for brands to update their Amazon strategy to make the most out of the fastest-growing sales channel in the industry," Rigby said.