Overview

Amazon is piercing the denim industry with speed, convenience and its own affordable brands.

Deep Dive

Amazon has been steadily—but quietly—encroaching on the apparel sector and denim hasn’t been left out in the lurch. The e-commerce juggernaut has at least 12 private label denim brands that consumers may not know by name, but they’re buying.

While it may seem Amazon Fashion cropped up quickly, threatening to snag more and more market share from traditional players, it’s not a new entity.

“It has slowly been growing and slowly been gaining partnerships with brands over the last decade or so,” Elaine Kwon, co-founder and partner of Kwontified seller services consultancy and former member of the Amazon Fashion team’s buying and e-commerce management departments. “In the first several years of that it was more undercover and quietly done, not something widely advertised.”

Now, however, Amazon has hit a certain level of penetration in apparel and denim, and both companies and consumers are beginning to take notice.

Amazon has six private label women’s denim brands: Hale, Denim Crush, Madison, Indigo Society, Denim Bloom and Lily & Parker. In all, more than 225 jean styles are featured on amazon.com, ranging in price from $19.50 to $89.99. For men’s, there are another six brands—Goodthreads, Comfort Denim Outfitters, Quality Durables, Denim Garage, Rugged Mile Denim and Nothing But Denim—though the range is a little smaller with upward of 80 styles priced between $16.99 and $78.

“It’s an attractive product at a great value,” Kwon said. “I think they are trying to find that sweet spot of product that makes it valuable to sell.”

And it’s not just the nearly indistinguishable private label lines that are selling well on the site.

“Denim is selling very well on Amazon, especially if you are a brand that has brand recognition and brand equity online,” Kwon said. Denim brands from Levi’s to AG Adriano Goldschmied to KUT from the Kloth, NYDJ and DL196, can all be found on Amazon too.

Going forward, expect Amazon to continue leading in the space, because there’s one thing no other brand or retailer has been able to deliver quite like the e-commerce king.

“I think it really comes down to one word, which is convenience,” Kwon said, noting too, that Amazon Prime Wardrobe users can order clothing, shoes and accessories, try things on at home and return whatever they aren’t keen on at no added cost to them. “[Amazon] cuts right to the chase of what’s going to make the customer the happiest, and that’s ultimately how it’s been able to disrupt retail.”