A series of new trademarks filed by Amazon indicates the e-commerce giant is poised to introduce more private label apparel lines, Bloomberg reports. Amazon did not immediately respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.
An application for the trademark name "League of Outstanding Kids," for example, for "clothing, footwear, headgear," was filed on Sept. 9, and is one of more than two dozen filings in recent months, according to the trademark search engine Trademarkia.
Amazon has more private labels than many observers previously thought and continues to develop even more (most recently a Prime-exclusive private-label pet food), but most if its private labels — 66 of 74, as of June — are in apparel, according to Coresight Research.
Amazon is contributing to the rise of apparel e-commerce thanks to its expanding private label lines and services like its Prime Wardrobe try-before-you-buy service. Other mass merchants are similarly developing private labels in apparel. Target, which last month showed off its best traffic in 12 years, rolled out its latest private label apparel brand this week and Walmart so far this year has rolled out four new apparel lines.
Amazon's approach has often been to use data from other brands to suss out which items will sell the most, a challenge to third parties that sell through its site. That has made many leery of tapping Amazon as a channel, although many brands — including Nike, Ugg, Calvin Klein and J. Crew — now sell through Amazon, and Nike has said those sales are "going well."
Online apparel shopping last year accounted for 27.4% of overall U.S. apparel sales, up from 23.5% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2015, according to the most recent Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report. Much of that is happening through Amazon: CPC Strategy research earlier this year found more than half (52%) of apparel shoppers who bought clothing online in the last six months said they shopped at Amazon.
Younger shoppers "are ready to embrace a full Amazon Fashion experience," retail think tank Coresight Research found. 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.
But Amazon's appeal so far is limited, according to Coresight. About 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.
Still, mass merchants like Target and Walmart, along with department stores, are feeling the pinch. Morgan Stanley predicted Macy's and Sears will have just 8% of the American apparel market in 2022, down from 24% in 2006, according to an April report cited by CNBC. Macy's and J.C. Penney rank "disproportionately high" in terms of how many apparel shoppers they have lost in part or in full to Amazon Fashion, according to Coresight.
Among apparel shoppers who have switched to Amazon, Target was previously their go-to apparel retailer, according to Coresight. Target apparel shoppers are also more likely than average to say they expect to buy apparel on Amazon in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, Walmart lost the second most share, according to the report. Large mall-based chains are also losing share.