Amazon's Prime members are fueling the e-tailer's apparel sales growth, with nearly two-thirds saying they've shopped for clothing or footwear there in the past year, according to new research from retail think tank Coresight Research. Nearly half (45.9%) of all survey respondents overall said that they had shopped for apparel on Amazon in that time, and 48% said that they expect to buy apparel there in the coming 12 months. Among apparel shoppers, Amazon and Target are vying for second place (after Walmart).
Amazon's private-label ranges are the fourth most-bought clothing or footwear "brand" on Amazon.com, and one in nine Amazon apparel shoppers had bought an Amazon-label item, according to the report, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Only Nike, Under Armour and Hanes ranked higher than Amazon's private labels. One in five are interested in trying them, although a "very small proportion" say the labels are a draw.
People go to Amazon for well-priced apparel, and Coresight Research founder-CEO Deborah Weinswig says that Amazon is being perceived as an off-price apparel retailer. Half (48%) of Amazon apparel shoppers said they expect to pay less than full price when buying clothing or footwear on the site, 32% say they go there because Amazon offers the lowest prices and 49% say Amazon offers good value.
It's still early in the year, but 2018 is shaping up to be the year for Amazon apparel.
Coresight's findings jibe with CPC Strategy research from last month that found more than half (52%) of apparel shoppers who bought clothing online in the last six months said they shopped at Amazon.
It's further evidence that Cowen & Co.'s now-famous prediction — that Amazon would leapfrog Macy's as America's biggest apparel seller — is closer to coming true.
Target, along with Macy's, has plenty to worry about, too, considering Coresight's finding that, among apparel shoppers who have switched to Amazon, Target was previously their go-to apparel retailer. Target apparel shoppers are also more likely than average to say that they expect to buy apparel on Amazon in the next 12 months.
While Target has "lost the most" in terms of shoppers switching some or all of their apparel spending to Amazon, Walmart lost the second most, according to the report. Department stores are also losing to Amazon in the category, with Macy's and J.C. Penney ranking "disproportionately high" in terms of how many apparel shoppers they have lost in part or in full to Amazon Fashion, according to the report.
And apparel shoppers are treating Amazon's site as a treasure hunt, defying marketing experts who said that Amazon's relatively hum-drum online shopping experience would deter sales, according to Weinswig. Some 65% cited the ease of browsing and searching Amazon Fashion as a reason for buying clothing or footwear on the site, ahead of factors like choice and price. And just 12% said that they thought the site could be made easier to browse.
"Some commentators have argued that the Amazon website is not equipped to provide a quality experience for browsing, searching and discovering fashion ranges," Weinswig wrote. "After all, Amazon established its position by serving as a kind of catalog for products that shoppers buy based mostly on specifications, such as books and electronics — but fashion shoppers tend to browse and buy differently. Nevertheless, our survey found that Amazon apparel shoppers are highly satisfied with the Amazon Fashion shopping experience."
Younger shoppers "are ready to embrace a full Amazon Fashion experience," she also wrote. Survey respondents ages 18 to 29 registered "much higher interest" than older shoppers in Amazon's private labels, its Prime Wardrobe service and even the possibility of Amazon opening physical fashion stores.