Skip to main content

Study: Amazon’s consumables sales on the upswing in Q3

Already experiencing steady double-digit growth, Amazon's sales of consumables ramped up significantly in the third quarter of 2017.

According to new research from One Click Retail, Amazon's sales of consumables, including health and personal care (HPC), grocery, beauty and pets, grew by an average of 80% across the United States, U.K., Germany, France and Canada, with the beauty and pets groups both doubling in size.

“This rapid growth will continue to gain momentum as more brand manufacturers focus on Amazon as a sales channel and Amazon continues to make big investments in consumables, such as its recent purchase of Whole Foods,” Nathan Rigby, VP of sales and marketing at One Click Retail.

Across all five countries, HPC was the largest of the four product groups, accounting for more than a third of Amazon's total consumables sales. The largest growth rates again took place in the smaller markets of Canada and France. However, in Amazon's most developed markets – the U.S. and U.K. – growth continues to increase, rising from 30% in Q1 and 40% in Q2 in both countries to 49% and 46% respectively, in Q3.

Baby care and nutrition remain the largest categories overall. Interestingly, the top category in most countries is nutrition, and the leading items across all countries are diapers and paper products.

“This is in part because there is a very wide variety of vitamins and supplements available in nutrition, which keep the sales for individual items relatively low for such a strong category,” said Rigby.

Online sales of beauty products have always been a challenge. Traditionally, because the cosmetics industry relies so heavily on experiential retail, high-end brands would focus on specialized brick-and-mortar outlets, and Amazon would only be a destination for inexpensive, mass market cosmetics. This remains a factor, as skin care is the leading category in four out of five countries, but the tide finally seems to be turning.

Prestige products were the fastest growers in both the U.K. and Germany, and two of the major growth categories in the U.S. were luxury cosmetics (69% growth) and luxury skin care (37% growth). In Canada, luxury skin care earned $300,000 in Q3. This was a far cry from the $25 million earned by the category in the U.S., but more than double the sales over the same period in 2016, the report said.

Sales are rising steadily across grocery, thanks to the company’s Amazon Fresh category, which generated $90 million in sales in the U.S. It’s also consistently growing at an average of 3% per week during the quarter. Half of fresh sales were split between dairy products and produce, followed by meat (including deli meats and seafood) with 18% of sales.

While it is still early, Rigby anticipates that Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods to make a major impact on Amazon’s grocery category going forward.

Meanwhile, coffee and beverages remain the top categories across the board, and in all countries, many of the top items include coffee pods. However, the major growth driver in the Germany and the U.K. was spirits.

The pet category has always been driven by food, and it’s no different in Q3. Pet food and feeding supplies continues to be the fastest-growing category in both the U.S. and France, where it makes up two thirds of total product group sales. Pet Food now ranks as the top category in all five countries.

“Emerging e-commerce categories, such as spirits and luxury cosmetics, are capturing more of the buying public and brands adopting Amazon as a primary sales channel are experiencing great success,” Rigby said.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds