2 New Amazon Exclusive Food and Grocery Brands Identified

As we continue to track Amazon’s private label and exclusive brand efforts, we have identified 2 new Amazon Exclusive apparel and accessories brands that have recently launched. Amazon Exclusive brands are labeled “Our Brands” by Amazon but are owned by third parties.

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Amazon Planning to Expand Its Private Label Efforts in Japan

While much of the focus on Amazon’s private label brand initiatives is on their efforts in the United States, Amazon has been growing its private label and exclusive brand offerings across its European and Asian markets as well.

Now, Amazon is planning to invest in additional expansion of its private label efforts in Japan, as evidenced by multiple job listings and a growing number of private label goods appearing on Amazon Japan.

As of today, AmazonBasics remains the broadest private label Amazon has launched in Japan in terms of SKU count by far. However, recently Amazon has also launched its Happy Belly (grocery and beverage), Solimo (household goods and foods), Mama Bear (diapers), Wickedly Prime (grocery), and Presto! (household goods) brands as well.

Like it does in other markets, when a search on Amazon Japan includes Amazon private label items in the results, it highlights those items with a gray box and “Our Brands” label. Here are a few examples of how these tiles look on Amazon Japan for Solimo tuna (“sea chicken”), Mama Bear diapers (“baby pants”), Happy Belly water, and Presto baby wipes.

  

We would not be surprised to see Amazon introduce private label and exclusive brands specific to the Japanese market, as it has done in other regional markets around the world already.

Based on several job listings posted earlier today, Amazon is planning to invest in significant staff expansion to power its growing private brand efforts in Japan. These follow several job listings targeting Amazon’s growing Japanese grocery efforts a few weeks ago.

The new Amazon Japan private brand job listings include:

  1. Sr. Category Manager, Private Brand
  2. Sr. Category Manager, Consumables Private Brands
  3. Product Manager, Private Brand
  4. Marketing & Customer Insight, Private Brand
  5. Head of Hardlines Private Brands
  6. Instock Manager, Private Brand
  7. Instock Manager, Consumables Private Brands

The above job postings note:

“Amazon is looking for an experienced, talented and enthusiastic Senior Category Manager for Consumables Private Brands (CPB) to manage selection expansion for number of categories for Private Brands business for Consumables in Japan.”

“Private Brands is a long-term growth opportunity for Amazon. So far, Amazon JP CPB has launched its brand 5 brands (Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime, Presto!, Mama Bear, and Solimo) as Amazon owned brands within Consumables, and are also looking to expand our foot-print into new categories, including Amazon-exclusive vendor owned brands under Amazon Accelerator program.”

“Amazon Basic is now considered strategically important at the global level, and it is expected to be a big Growth Potential as the Priority Growth Division.” (Disclaimer: this quote is a Google Translation from the listing’s original Japanese)

“The Amazon Consumables Private Brands team is creating a global portfolio of premium consumables products to meet Prime customers’ daily needs.”

“Amazon is looking for an experienced, talented and enthusiastic team leader of Hardlines Private Brands to manage selection expansion for number of categories for Amazon’s Exclusive Brands and Private Brands business for Consumables in Japan. As a leader, you will be responsible for managing private brands with the best possible commercial and legal terms. You will also be responsible for hiring and building a high performance team of experienced team members and growing volumes and margins. You will develop a partnerships with retail category teams in Japan and the various functions in Japan and US. Private Brands is a long-term growth opportunity for Amazon. We are also looking to expand our foot-print into new categories.”

Increasingly, Amazon views its private label efforts with a global purview. Amazon wants to increase customer loyalty amongst Prime members through private brands around the world, and ultimately generate increased margins in the long term. It is building a brand portfolio and global infrastructure to support that effort.

Follow TJI as we continue to track Amazon’s private brand efforts in Japan and around the world.

Above image credit: Amazon Japan

GNC Launches Amazon Exclusive Supplement Brand, “CHALLENGE by GNC”

GNC, one of the largest retailers of vitamins, supplements, and other health and nutrition products, has quietly launched a new Amazon Exclusive brand called CHALLENGE by GNC.

GNC, which has seen declining revenues over the past two years from $2.68 billion in 2015 to $2.45 billion in 2017, operates over 8,000 stores around the world and over 3,000 in the United States. Amidst changing retail trends, GNC announced earlier this year that it intended to close approximately 200 stores in 2018.

Now the company appears to be trying a new tactic – creating a brand of products exclusively available on Amazon. As an Amazon Exclusive brand, CHALLENGE by GNC is labeled as “Our Brand” by Amazon and included in special promotional real estate in Amazon search results.

GNC has not made any announcements about the new strategy or launch of the new brand that we can find. The company has also not yet responded to our request for comment. We will update if they do.

Amazon is currently promoting the new CHALLENGE by GNC Amazon Exclusive brand in the nutritional supplements section of its US website with ads like the following:

Vine reviews for CHALLENGE by GNC products are dated since September, so it’s possible GNC is waiting to promote the new brand until after some initial reviews come in.

The move signals a possible growing trend of well known brand owners deciding to create new brands or sub-brands for certain product lines exclusively for Amazon. Carter’s currently offers its Simple Joys by Carter’s brand exclusively on Amazon. Iconix now makes its entire Starter brand of clothing available on Amazon as well. We expect to see more of these kinds of moves in the coming months, as Amazon is looking to increase the volume of exclusive brands on its platform.

As always, follow TJI for the latest on Amazon’s private label and exclusive brand efforts.

Perrigo Launches Amazon Exclusive Infant Formula Brand, “Love & Care”

Perrigo, one of the largest manufacturers of private label OTC pharmaceuticals, has launched a new Amazon Exclusive infant formula brand called Love & Care.

It’s the first infant formula Amazon Exclusive brand we’ve seen. Currently, Earth’s Best (owned by Hain Celestial Group), Similac (owned by Abbott Laboratories), Enfamil (owned by Mead Johnson), and Happy Baby brand infant formulas rank the highest in Amazon US search results for infant formula. Plum Organics, Happy Baby, Love & Care, and GoodSense are the top brands advertising on those searches.

While “Love & Care” brand items are not yet showing up with the “Our Brand” label in search results, Amazon is promoting the new Love & Care brand in the baby healthcare section of its US website with ads like the following:

Perrigo has not made any announcements that we can find, and the company has not yet responded to our request for comment. We will update if they do. Vine reviews have started coming in in recent days, suggesting that Perrigo may be waiting to promote the new brand until after some initial reviews come in.

Perrigo filed for the US trademark for “Love & Care” on May 9, 2018. The company also produces the Amazon Exclusive Basic Care brand, which includes a variety of first aid health care products and OTC medicines.

Follow TJI for the latest on Amazon’s private label and exclusive brand efforts.

Amazon Launches Solimo Private Label Brand Crackers, Tea, and Granola Bars

Amazon continues to broaden its Solimo private label brand. Solimo thus far has been positioned as a value brand option for household essentials like toilet paper. Now, Amazon is expanding it further into the food and grocery category with the launch of Solimo brand crackers, tea, and granola bars.

1. Crackers

First, Amazon is going after a product category occupied by powerful brands in the cracker market with the launch of 4 Solimo brand cracker products.

At $2.45 to $2.51 each, the array of Solimo crackers are attractively priced vs grocery store retail for the name brand items.

Currently, top cracker advertisers on Amazon.com US include Pepperidge Farm, Keebler, and Nabisco, with Pepperidge Farm and Nabisco performing strongly in organic search results.

2. Teas

Second, Amazon has launched Solimo Tea Pods, Compatible with 2.0 K-Cup Brewers in English Breakfast, Green Tea, and Chamomile flavors. The English Breakfast version is selling for $12.34 for a 42-count pack (about $0.51 each).

 

In addition, Amazon has launched 8 flavors of Solimo brand tea bags, ranging from Black Tea Bags, 100 Count (for $4.99) to Mint Green Tea Bags, 20 Count (for $2.29). All tea bag options are available only through Prime Pantry.

Top tea advertisers on Amazon.com include Southern Breeze, Bstean, Good Earth, and Vahdam, with Twinings and Bigelow performing well in organic search results.

3. Granola Bars

Finally, Amazon has launched 2 granola bar products under the Solimo brand. Solimo Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar, 12 Count (Pack of 12) is selling for $25.00 (about $0.17 each) while Solimo Sweet & Salty Peanut Granola Bars, 48 Count are selling for $17.77 (about $0.37 each).

Likewise, these are attractively priced vs name brands in retail grocery stores.

Annie’s, Quaker, Clif Bar, KIND Bars, and others are currently top sponsors on Amazon.com US for granola bars, with Nature Valley ranking prominently in organic search results.

As always, follow TJI for the latest as we continue to track Amazon’s private label efforts.

Amazon Raises Minimum Wage for all US Employees to $15/Hour, UK as Well

In a move that will affect over 350,000 employees, Amazon announced today that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all US employees, effective November 1. The new rate applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

Amazon says the change “will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.” It will also apply to Whole Foods employees.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

Amazon also said it would also, “Begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.”

“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, SVP of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs and former press secretary for President Obama.

Amazon said in its most recent annual report that its median employee compensation was $28,446 in 2017. Walmart announced in January that it was raising its minimum wage for US employees to $11 per hour.

Amazon also said it will phase out Restricted Stock Unit (RSU) compensation for hourly fulfillment and customer service employees. “They prefer the predictability and immediacy of cash to RSUs,” Amazon says. “The net effect of this change and the new higher cash compensation is significantly more total compensation for employees, without any vesting requirements, and with more predictability.”

Amazon has come under increased criticism for its pay disparity this year. Last month, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont introduced legislation called the Stop BEZOS Act that would tax corporations commensurate to the amount of government benefits low-wage employees receive in government benefits. Today, Sanders commended Amazon on their move.

“What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos’ lead,” Sanders tweeted.

President Trump has also criticized Amazon on a number of fronts this year. In March, he accused Amazon of “putting many thousands of retailers out of business” and of receiving unfair tax treatment. In July 2017, he called Amazon a “monopoly.” However, Trump’s Amazon criticisms have not included commentary on the company’s hourly wages.

Amazon also announced today that it is increasing minimum wages paid to its UK employees. Starting November 1, minimum wages will increase to £10.50 ($13.59) per hour for all employees in the London area and £9.50/hour for staff in all other parts of the country.

Amazon has over 17,000 employees in Britain and plans to hire more than 20,000 seasonal employees for the holiday.

Amazon said the impact of the higher compensation on its financial reports will be reflected in its quarterly guidance.

Amazon Launches New Private Label Sports Supplements Brand, OWN PWR

Coming on the heels of its launch of its first private label mattresses, Amazon has launched a new private label sports supplements brand.

Amazon’s brand is called OWN PWR. Currently it includes 11 products — 8 general sports nutrition products (like whey protein and creatine) and 3 “Elite” pre-workout powder formulations.

Amazon has been making its OWN PWR items available on an invite-only basis since late August — we do not know how many invites Amazon sent out, but interested parties could apply on the product pages directly. However, as of today, OWN PWR products now appear to be available for sale without an invitation. All customer reviews we’re seeing are from the last few days.

Amazon has a number of private label and exclusive brands in the sports and nutritional supplement category.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched the Amfit Nutrition private label brand in its UK and EU stores. There are 2 products currently offered under the Amfit brand: whey protein powder and chocolate protein bars.

In addition, Amazon has multiple Amazon Exclusive brands in the US that offer nutritional supplement products. Amazon labels these “Our Brands” as well. They include:

  1. Enraged Nutrition – offers creatine and glutamine powders
  2. Flexatarian – offers a variety of whey protein and pre-workout powders
  3. P2N Peak Performance Nutrition – offers a variety of protein powders

As always, stay tuned to TJI for the latest as we continue to track Amazon’s private label efforts.

The TJI Amazon Brand Report – October 2018 Edition

TJI Amazon Brand Database – The Independent Global List of Amazon Private Label and Exclusive Brands

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 brands.


275+ Private Label and Exclusive Brands

Some brands, like AmazonBasics, are in use by Amazon globally. Others, like Vedaka (Amazon’s spice brand in India) or Kid Nation (one of Amazon’s children’s clothing brands in the US) are only in use in one of Amazon’s country stores.

All told, we’ve identified 120+ Amazon private label brands and 150+ Amazon exclusive brands from Amazon’s retail sites around the world as of today, for a total of 275+ private label and exclusive brands combined. That represents a much larger number than has previously been identified in any reports we’ve seen.

As a few examples, some Amazon private label brands that you may not have seen before include Common District, Dayana, Denim Crush, Filgate, Smitten, Sprout Star, The Casual Grey, The Portland Plaid Co, Toes In A Blanket, and OWN PWR.

And the number is growing.

From Suits to Nuts, Furniture to Dryer Sheets, and Everything in Between

While Amazon’s brand portfolio is largest in clothing — there are over 125 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 16 food and grocery brands, 25 healthcare and beauty brands, and 14 household goods brands in the US alone. From Austin Mill suits to Sol nuts, Rivet mid-century accent chairs to Breezeo dryer sheets, Amazon’s thousands of private label and exclusive brand items cover a greater number of retail categories than you may think.

A 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.

Dive In

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 serious about tracking Amazon’s private brand efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Intel, which covers the latest developments across Amazon’s brand portfolio.

The Big Picture on Today’s Echo Product Announcements: Amazon’s Subscription Services Strategy

In the future, we may experience Amazon primarily as a home (and business) operations automation company. A good portion of what we think of as “e-commerce” today may come to largely feel like automated supply replenishment happening in the background.

Amazon and Home Automation Infrastructure

In a certain sense, Amazon’s hardware strategy for the home is “boring.” Today, the company announced a clock, a microwave, a microphone, and speakers.

None of these products is going to set the world on fire by itself. But rather, they’re each a piece of the overall puzzle of building a system of unified home infrastructure that connects the hardware we see and touch every day with intelligent services that hold the data we need for daily life.

Today’s announcements are a clear indication that Amazon’s strategy is to build the nervous system that powers the home, and to build at-least-demonstration-quality hardware (or much better in some instances) in a variety of categories to accelerate the pace of innovation in and growth of the systems it wants to power.

A Subscription Services Future

Over 100 million people around the world subscribe to Amazon Prime today.  Millions more likely subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited. And more are trying FreeTime Unlimited, Prime Channels, Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Pantry/Fresh, and other less-well-known subscription services that Amazon offers every day.

In fact, Amazon has created a subscription service around millions of consumable products it sells. Almonds? Subscribe & Save. Diapers? Subscribe & Save. OTC medicine? Subscribe & Save.

Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service already re-orders supplies for your home (or business) when it detects supplies are low. (Why order potato chips when your smart potato chip container can automatically keep supply levels above desired thresholds for you.)

As more Alexa-connected devices are deployed in the home (and car), Amazon can provide more varied and sophisticated home services. For example, home security and automated appliance maintenance, just to name a couple related to products announced today.

And with those services comes increasing (and likely higher-margin) recurring subscription revenue. In some sense, selling toilet paper was just step one. (Though we believe Amazon could have improved e-commerce margins in the future as well as private label grows, but will probably just keep prices low.)


Amazon’s product announcements today:

  1. Echo Dot (3rd generation)
  2. Echo Show (2nd generation)
  3. Echo Plus (2nd generation)
  4. Echo Input
  5. Echo Link
  6. Echo Link Amp
  7. Echo Sub
  8. Echo Wall Clock
  9. Echo Auto
  10. Amazon Smart Plug
  11. AmazonBasics Microwave
  12. Ring Stick Up Cam
  13. FireTV Recast
  14. Alexa Connect Kit
  15. Alexa Guard, Local Voice Control, and More Alexa Features
  16. Alexa Presentation Language
  17. Alexa Smart Screen Device SDK

Is Whole Foods Driving Prime Membership Growth?

When Amazon bought Whole Foods a year ago, a common theory behind the rationale was that Prime could drive traffic to Whole Foods through membership deals. But are long-time Whole Foods shoppers who are not Prime members also more likely to join Prime because of those deals?

Per a survey from consumer research firm InfoScout, it appears that for many, the answer is yes.

InfoScout notes:

In addition to analyzing purchase data from Prime member shoppers, we fielded an InfoScout survey to understand how 1,006 long-time Whole Foods shoppers (people who had made Whole Foods purchases both pre- and post-Amazon acquisition) perceived the changes taking place in-store.

Of the surveyed shoppers, 11.2% claimed not to be Prime members, but 64.6% of those non-Prime members said they were considering Prime membership. The top reason for considering Prime? Access to in-store Whole Foods discounts (68.5%), followed by ease of shopping on Amazon (63%), and ability to get Prime shipping on Amazon (61.6%). The in-store discounts are clearly working toward Amazon’s ultimate goal – driving more Prime memberships.