This is the TJI Tracking Amazon report for November 20, 2019.
TJI’s Justin Smith is at the 2019 US Private Label Trade Show in Chicago this week. The event attracts a wide variety of private label suppliers, brokers, importers, and exporters.
The conference is produced by the Private Label Manufacturers Association and is being held at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. We look forward to meeting you there.
Amazon announced a flurry of new devices today. We’ve added the below to the TJI Amazon Product Database:
In addition, several core Echo devices were updated, such as the Echo, Dot, and more.
Until a few months ago, Amazon commonly promoted its private label and exclusive “Our Brand” items with dedicated modules near the top of search results pages on Amazon.com. Then, in April 2019, Amazon demoted the modules promoting its own brands to a location close to the bottom of search results pages. While Amazon stated at the time that this change was part of ongoing experimentation, spring 2019 was also a season in which there was increasing political discourse regarding whether Amazon’s methods of promoting “Our Brand” goods are anti-competitive.
Now, about four and a half months later, Amazon has moved its “Top rated from our brands” module back up closer to the top of Amazon.com search results pages. Depending on the query, this module now often appears in the second, third, or fourth row below sponsored items at top. For example, a search for “hand sanitizer” shows the “Top rated from our brands” module on the second row (below one row of half sponsored/half organic results), and a search for “whey protein” shows the module on the third row (below a half sponsored/half organic row, and an “Editorial recommendations” row).
Both before and after the April 2019 change, and now, Amazon private label and exclusive “Our Brand” items have also been scattered throughout organic search results as well (i.e. presumably for standard algorithmic reasons).
When asked about the reasons for this most recent change, an Amazon spokesperson told us, “We are always testing different experiences to help customers easily find and discover products in our store.”
Here’s how the “hand sanitizer” search results look in the US as of today. Sponsored results (i.e. ads) are highlighted in yellow. The “Top rated from our brands” module is highlighted in pink, and Amazon “Our Brand” items appearing in organic results are highlighted in blue. Of the four items highlighted in blue, three are Solimo brand, an Amazon private label, and one is Mountain Falls brand, an Amazon Exclusive “Our Brand.” Of the four items highlighted in pink, 3 are Mountain Falls and 1 is Solimo. There are many more rows of organic search results below those shown in this screenshot.
While many Amazon brands have not taken off, Amazon continues to be focused on growing its private label and exclusive brand program. As part of its Amazon Accelerator program to grow its portfolio of exclusive brands, Amazon is offering marketing services, such as special promotional placements in search results, to help give Amazon Exclusive brands a boost. Amazon Exclusive brands “receive a suite of marketing support executed by our Amazon merchandising team. Products with high ratings and reviews can receive additional placements across Amazon.com,” Amazon says.
In locations that have varied over the last year, Amazon devotes screen real estate to modules promoting its “Our Brands” items. One of the most visible, and likely influential, of these promotional modules is the “Top rated from our brands” module in search results. These promotional placements seem to incorporate Amazon private label brand products equally as well.
Amazon has stated many times that it earns about 1% of its revenues from private label products, which is much less than many other large retailers, but that hasn’t stopped the narrative promoted by some including prominent politicians like Elizabeth Warren that Amazon is effectively dissuading firms from entering the Amazon marketplace by being both the marketplace platform operator and a seller of products on the platform too.
TJI Research is currently tracking 144 Amazon private label brands and 622 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” in our TJI Amazon Brand Database. We believe this is the most comprehensive resource available for tracking Amazon’s own brand efforts.
For a while, it appeared as though Amazon has dialed down the lever of Our Brand product promotion somewhat. Now, it seems like Amazon is dialing it back up some. We’ll continue to track further changes.
We’ve just added 79 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” to the TJI Amazon Brand Database, in our largest monthly update ever. The new brands we’re seeing are across all categories, from apparel to health and beauty, electronics to household goods, and more.
Many of these brands are owned by parties in China, per trademark records. These brand owners are creating new brands specifically for distribution on Amazon. When connected to Amazon’s logistics infrastructure, they’re bringing new meaning to the phrase “factory direct.”
The new brands we’re seeing are:
We’ll continue to track Amazon’s ongoing private label and exclusive brand efforts here at TJI Research.
170-year-old Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli has launched a new Amazon Exclusive chocolate brand as part of Amazon’s “Our Brands” program, we believe.
The new brand is called Cocoa K’choo, and currently includes several flavors of bars and cocoa, including “Dark & Dreamy Truffle,” “Totally Toasty Coconut,” “Merry-Go Mousse,” “Silky Sweet Frosting,” and more.
As is usually the case with Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands,” neither Lindt & Sprüngli nor Amazon have made any announcements regarding the launch that we have seen — but Lindt & Sprüngli is listed as the owner of the Cocoa K’choo trademark at the USPTO. Reviews for the Cocoa K’Choo items are dated since June.
While many new Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” are owned by smaller firms, the launch of Cocoa K’Choo shows that Amazon is determined to work with established food and beverage giants like Lindt to create new brands and products that are exclusive to Amazon.
In addition to its Lindt flagship brand, Lindt & Sprüngli also owns the Ghirardelli, Russell Stover, Whitman’s, Pangburn’s, Caffarel, Hofbauer, and Kufferle brands. The company reported about $4.45 billion USD in sales in 2018.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to invest in growing its private label food and beverage efforts. Recently, we’ve noted that Amazon was launching private label milk, dairy, and coconut water products under its Happy Belly and Solimo brands. We are also seeing signs that Amazon is planning to further invest in and expand its private label food and beverage offerings in the form of new job posts focused on these roles.
As one of the largest internet retailers and e-commerce platforms in a growing number of markets around the world, Amazon holds a unique position in an increasing number of retail product categories. Over the last decade, Amazon has introduced a number of private label and exclusive brands, and recently it has accelerated its efforts by bringing to market both many new brands and an increasing number of products offered under them.
But, while Amazon labels these brands in different ways in different places, there’s no singular comprehensive reference for manufacturers, brand owners, or retailers to find all of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands in one place. That’s why we have created the TJI Amazon Brand Database — the independent global list of Amazon private label and exclusive “Our Brands.”
Over 500 Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands”
In the first five months of 2019, Amazon introduced over 170 new exclusive “Our Brands,” bringing the total number of Amazon Exclusive brands we are tracking to over 500 for the first time.
While many of these brands are from smaller firms with a limited array of products, a few others are from larger companies with valuable existing brands that are experimenting with creating exclusive brands for the Amazon “Our Brands” ecosystem. For example, just recently, J.Crew launched “LOOK by crewcuts,” a new Amazon Exclusive children’s clothing brand, in April.
While these brands may co-exist and even compete with other brands from these same companies own, the Amazon Exclusive brands benefit from the marketing opportunities Amazon provides manufacturers and brand owners to incentivize their participation in the “Our Brands” program.
140 Amazon Private Label Brands
Thus far in 2019, Amazon introduced 5 new private label brands that we have identified, bringing the total number of Amazon private label brands we are tracking to 140.
While the total number of Amazon private label brands is not growing as quickly as it once was, Amazon is continuing to launch new products under its growing portfolio of global brands. For example, so far in 2019:
The breadth of Amazon private label products continues to grow, particularly amongst its category-agnostic global brands like AmazonBasics and Solimo.
650+ Amazon “Our Brands” Overall
All told, we’ve identified 140 Amazon private label brands and 510+ Amazon exclusive brands from Amazon’s retail sites around the world as of today, for a total of 650+ private label and exclusive brands combined. That represents a much larger number than has previously been identified in any reports we’ve seen. And the number is growing.
From Razors to Motor Oil, Increasing Product Category Coverage
While Amazon’s brand portfolio is largest in clothing — there are over 200 private label and exclusive clothing, shoes, accessories brands in the US alone — Amazon brands run the gamut of consumer product categories.
For example, we count over 50 food and grocery brands, 80 healthcare and beauty brands, and 30 household goods brands in the US alone. From Solimo sunscreen to AmazonBasics microfiber linens, from Stone & Beam wall art to Happy Belly milk, Amazon’s thousands of private label and exclusive brand items cover a greater number of retail categories than you may think.
A Growing Global Footprint
While the greatest number of Amazon private label brands are marketed in the US, Amazon has made efforts to build its brand portfolio around the world as well.
For example, in the UK and EU, Amazon has many private label clothing brands that don’t exist in other Amazon markets. And in India, Amazon has a spectrum of private label and exclusive clothing brands ranging from the traditional to the modern.
We continue to find new brands on an ongoing basis, and we predict the number of brands is only going to grow.
The TJI Amazon Brand Database is a starting point for researchers and analysts to navigate the breadth and depth of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands.
For professionals interested in tracking Amazon’s private brand efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Amazon Briefing, which covers the latest developments at Amazon across industries.