• Apparel brands account for 88% of Amazon’s private labels, but only 1% of private-label sales, according to a report by Jungle Scout, an Amazon Product Finder and Research Tool. Largely womenswear, 80% of these apparel private labels sell fewer than 100 items each month. Instead, technology is driving the company’s private-label sales: Echo devices comprise 35% of Amazon’s private-label sales—contributing to Amazon’s domination over the U.S. smart speaker market—and Fire tablets account for 22%. Amazon has attempted to mitigate its private-label fashion woes with services like Prime Wardrobe, Amazon Scout, and its SnapChat visual product search—last week, it also launched a London fashion pop-up, but instead of singling out its private labels, it interspersed them with brands offering similar price points. But with more competition in the apparel category, Amazon is falling behind other mass retailers like Target, which continues to see strong performance across its private-label fashion brands—in 2016, these brands accounted for 30% of the company’s total revenue, many attaining more than $1 billion in annual sales.
  • Revenue growth from Amazon’s “Online Stores” category—its main ecommerce business—has decelerated, hitting only 11% year over year growth in Q3 2018, compared to 22% year over year growth in Q3 2017. Meanwhile, revenue from its “Other” category, which includes advertising—a business Amazon is improving and expanding—rose approximately 60% year over year in the past quarter, reeling in $2.3 billion.
  • Amazon launched new benefits for Business Prime members, including a new credit card through American Express offering 5% back on Amazon or Whole Foods purchases and no annual fee. On orders over $35, members to the program in 8,000 cities can also enjoy one-day or same-day shipping on more than 1 million products. Companies are also able to integrate their budgets with Amazon in order to spend more wisely.
  • Amazon debuted two new private-label home decor brands, Ravenna Home and Now House by Jonathan Adler. This doubles the company’s previous home offerings, which included Rivet and Stone & Beam. With 135 SKUs, from accents to furniture, Now House seems to take page out of Target’s playbook, though many of the latter’s home goods brands launched with thousands of SKUs. Ravenna’s lower price point is reminiscent of Target’s Project 62 and Threshold lines, but Target’s price tag is still cheaper.
  • Walmart is opening a new tech-driven store called Sam’s Club Now in Dallas in order to compete with Amazon. The store will feature cameras à la Amazon Go, electronic labels similar to those at Amazon 4-Star, “Scan & Go” mobile checkout technology, and other retail concepts. Additionally, sales associates will be replaced by what Walmart is calling “Member Hosts,” who will guide shoppers through the experience. As of now, the store is open to local Sam’s Club members by invite only.