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‘Generic’ Brands Drive Purchases on Amazon Fashion, Research Shows

Amazon has been playing the long game when it comes to its fashion offering, and despite manifold attempts at new platform features, private labels and marketing campaigns, experts still say the marketplace is “in a period of growth.”

A report released Wednesday by Coresight Research reveals that the company is still determining the right mix by fashion category, and hasn’t yet found its footing with trend-conscious shoppers.

Using aggregated data on more than 849,000 women’s and men’s clothing products across 2,633 brands listed on Amazon, Coresight Research analysts determined the platform’s prevailing categories and trends.

The top performing 30 brands on Amazon Fashion comprise 95 percent of purchase activity, and as it turns out, the platform’s winning seller isn’t a brand at all. “Generic” or unbranded merchandise topped rankings in September 2019, with 906 percent growth over the previous year.

The generic distinction is applied to over 65,000 products on Amazon Fashion, making it the overall most-listed “brand.” The proliferation of unbranded apparel on the site indicates that Amazon shoppers are looking for inexpensive offerings, and prioritizing function over fashion clout.

Following generic products, the platform’s top listed brands are InterestPrint, which offers a range of printed apparel, Hanes, the heritage undergarment brand, and Gildan, which makes activewear and T-shirts.

Notably, listings for men’s apparel actually outnumber women’s apparel listings for the top 95 percent of brands on Amazon Fashion. That’s a dramatic shift from a year ago, when women’s apparel products outnumbered men’s by 1.5 times.

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Men’s fashion listings center around three main categories, which comprise more than half (54 percent) of product listings. Shirts, activewear, and T-shirts and tanks are the prevailing apparel groupings, represented by top brands Gildan, Nike and ZeroGravitee.

For women, top ranking categories include tops, tees and blouses, and dresses and activewear. The three groupings make up nearly half (49 percent) of women’s fashion product listings, and as with men’s apparel, ZeroGravitee and Nike made the top three list, with InterestPrint rounding out the winners.

InterestPrint has the most product listings on Amazon Fashion, second only to the “generic” category, according to analysts. All of the company’s products are sold through third-party sellers rather than through Amazon.

Products sold through third-party sellers are continuing to thrive on Amazon, despite the proliferation of the platform’s own private labels. In fact, Amazon offerings of apparel products from independent merchants made up 87 percent of sales in September 2019, up from 84 percent 18 months prior.

While Nike raised eyebrows with last November’s announcement that it would cease selling directly on the platform, analysts project minimal impact to Amazon sales due to the fact the 92 percent of Nike purchases are made through third-party sellers.

Following Nike in the activewear category are Adidas and Under Armour. While Nike boasted 10,252 listings on the site as of September, Adidas had about half as many (5,027) and Under Armour had 6,881 during the same time period.

Coresight’s findings cast new light on reports that Amazon is making a play for luxury, indicating that the e-commerce juggernaut has considerable ground to cover before it can truly claim a stake in fashion.