The New Yorker recently published a big profile called “Is Amazon Unstoppable?,” which looked at the retail/media/technology/logistics company’s reign on consumerism, especially in the United States. One section of the piece focused on Amazon’s private label brands, a strategy that is not unique to Amazon. In response to the article, Amazon said that private label products only make up one percent of sales, effectively saying it’s a financial rounding error. But this marked one of the first times—if not the first time—that the company has disclosed its private label revenue. 

With Amazon earning over $232 billion in 2018 revenue, that would equate to over $2.3 billion in private label sales, which comes from somewhere between 150 and 200 different brands. Amazon launched its first private label in 2005, but the introduction of AmazonBasics in 2009 was the real starting point for the strategy. It is now the company’s best-selling private label brand. 

Compared to other retailers, Amazon still has a ways to go before it reaches private label dominance. Target earned almost $25 billion from its nearly 50 private labels in 2018, which made up one-third of its revenue. Walmart sees almost 40% of its revenue from private label products, which would equal over $205 billion in the company’s fiscal 2019. Walmart is not new to the practice since the company has been relying on them for at least four decades. 

While Amazon’s private label revenue is only a fraction of other retailers, it has access to unparalleled data given everything else it sells, which primes it to learn—and monetize those learnings—faster than anyone else can. While Amazon told The New Yorker that it does not use “data about individual sellers to decide which products to launch,” that leaves the door open to aggregated data from multiple sellers, which is basically the same thing. It’s also fully in the company’s discretion to define what “aggregated” means. 

With anti-trust action brewing, it will be important to watch how lawmakers view Amazon’s private label strategy. Even though Amazon’s revenue in this arena is a fraction of the size of its competition, the rate at which it is growing, which Amazon does not disclose, is likely outpacing everyone else. While private label sales only equal one percent of sales today, the number should rise substantially in the coming years as the company gathers more data and puts it to use. Whether people will keep buying these products is to be determined, but convenience plus affordability is a hard proposition to beat, especially with one-day shipping on the horizon.