• Five million of Prime Day’s 100 million product sales came from the beauty sector, with the largest proportion from haircare and skincare, up 240% and 40% year over year, respectively. Though both markets are growing—the premium haircare industry is now worth $645 million, up 19% from 2017—many of these brands got creative. Some held lightning deals that enhanced the company’s ranking in Amazon’s search results, which paid off once Prime Day began.
  • Amazon was granted a patent for delivery drones in July 2018 and is now looking to secure another for a blimp-like fulfillment center. As ecommerce grows, the demand for warehouse space is as well, leading more companies to seek multi-story distribution centers. According to one data company, 40% of all packages will be delivered within a two-hour time frame by 2028, ushered in large part by Amazon itself.
  • Even if Alexa-enabled shopping hasn’t caught on, it’s not her fault. One digital marketing firm found that voice purchasing is low in popularity because shoppers like to compare prices. Most often, when asked about a product, Alexa will first offer “Amazon’s choice,” and if declined, will refer the shopper to the top search result, but shoppers still feel blindsided.
  • If choosing between a Whole Foods and a grocery competitor like Trader Joe’s, Kroger or Walmart within one mile of each other, shoppers are likely to choose the former. A year after Amazon’s acquisition, Whole Foods now boasts Amazon lockers, Prime deals and curbside pickup, and the only thing holding Whole Foods back from squeezing more out of the $800 billion grocery industry is its own reach. The company is still considered niche and urban-centric, with fewer than 500 stores in contrast to Walmart’s 4,000 and Kroger’s nearly 3,000.
  • At the same time, the Whole Foods merger has also set off a flurry of partnerships between traditional retailers and digital startups, including Kroger and the online grocery company Ocado; Target’s acquisition of same-day delivery service Shipt; and Walmart’s purchase of same-day delivery service Parcel and partnership with Alert Innovation, which uses automated cars for in-store grocery pickup. Much of this activity is attempting to attack a long-standing problem with grocery delivery: how to deal with heavy, perishable items.
  • The “Amazon effect” has long deflated prices as retailers race to the bottom, competing for consumers. A new study from Harvard Business School found that though more ecommerce competition means that retailers are moving faster to adjust their prices and are more likely to hold prices constant regardless of geography, it could make products more sensitive to tariffs and fluctuating oil prices.
  • Though Amazon’s ad revenue pales in comparison to Google and Facebook’s, its ad business is growing and evolving fast. The company is currently toying with video ads that accompany mobile search results, is working on a free, ad-supported TV service available through its Fire TVs, and is concentrating its advertising business on a single platform. Now Amazon is attracting business from companies that don’t even sell directly on its platform such as Verizon, AT&T and Geico. These companies state that they are coming to Amazon simply because that’s where shoppers are—they can also benefit from the retailer’s ability to target specific demographics and their consumption habits. Verizon, for one, plans to experiment by placing Fios ads on Amazon packages headed to zip codes where the Fios service is available.