New Report Pegs 32% Year-Over-Year Growth in Amazon’s Apparel Business

According to One Click Retail, Amazon's apparel business jumped 32 percent year-over-year.

Amazon’s apparel business showed 32 percent growth in total sales volume compared to the third quarter of 2016, said a new report by research and consulting firm One Click Retail. The company published its “Fall Fashion on Amazon: Q3 2017” report Thursday, a full week before Amazon’s earnings call.

According to a spokeswoman, the firm corralled data using a mix of “web site indexing, machine learning and proprietary software to estimate weekly online sales figures at the sku level on Amazon.” Then it tracked growth across “first-party” sales, which cover brands sold directly by Amazon and its own lines, and then compared third-quarter figures from this year to the same quarter last year.

The findings: Men’s and women’s apparel — the largest clothing segments in Amazon’s sales channels, accounting for more than three-quarters of its total apparel business — were the slowest performers compared to other apparel segments in the online marketplace.

According to One Click, men’s and women’s showed 32 and 28 percent volume growth compared to last year, respectively, while categories like young men’s, unisex, boys, girls, and baby clothes ranged from 35 percent to beyond 65 percent. Apparently, the demand for onesies and other pint-sized outfits spurred 67 percent growth, making baby clothes Amazon’s fastest growing demographic.

The study also noted that Amazon sales hew to fall fashion trends seen elsewhere, with high-neck tops, silk shirts and quilted jackets making a big statement on the site.

In men’s apparel, sales of silk shirts shot up a whopping 807 percent. The report attributed the radical boost to luxury brand Nat Nast, whose recent launch on Amazon quadrupled the number of silk shirts available on the site. Quilted jackets also made a strong showing, at 86 percent growth. Combined with the uptick in turtleneck sweaters, at 17 percent, the results seem to nod at layering behavior as the weather cools and season transitions.

In the women’s apparel category, fishnet tights/leggings, button-down dresses and high-neck tops share the spotlight, with the latter winning out: Sales for high-neck tops jumped 147 percent, with button-down dresses and fishnets clocking in at 33 percent and 32 percent growth, respectively.

“High necklines are continuing to trend for women and for fall we’re seeing high-neck blouses as part of an Eighties revival,” said Francesca Muston, head of retail and product analysis at WGSN, One Click Retail’s sister firm specializing in trend analysis. “The high zip-neck top is being worn under blazers as we’re also seeing retro sportswear picking up as a key trend.”

Fishnets, she added, are still key for the youth customer, thanks in part to accessible prices and ease of wear with shorts, skirts and dresses. She also spotted people pulling them up “high onto the waist revealing visible above the waistband as a new styling direction.”

In July, another One Click report pegged Amazon as taking a $3.4 billion slice of the total $200 billion U.S. apparel market in 2016.