This month, we’re going to look at the 5 product groups that experienced the most month-over-month (MoM) percentage growth in October and what has driven these trends.
Like it or not, the holiday shopping season has begun. In October, must-have Christmas List items dominated Amazon’s sales, which grew by $115M in overall sales compared to September. And the product groups that saw the largest percentage increases in MoM sales prove it: With Apparel (including Halloween costumes) outpacing everything else, Children’s Books, Video Games and Toys account for the highest percentage in MoM sales growth, indicating that holiday shoppers are not waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get their hands on hot-ticket stocking stuffers.
Product Group #1: Apparel (85% growth)
It’s no surprise that Costumes led the growth in this category in the lead up to Halloween, alone accounting for over $21M in sales. The top selling US costumes included Wonder Woman and Where’s Waldo. Of particular interest in Halloween costume shopping on Amazon were the difference in keyword search terms based on the geography of the shopper. For example, the top keyword searches in the US focused on generic terms such as “halloween costumes for women” and “halloween costumes for men”, whereas the top search terms in the UK, like “Harry Potter” and “mr robot”, were accompanied by “fancy dress”, the British term for costume. (Read these great tips on how to optimize your brand’s products on Amazon’s search pages.)
Outside of Costumes, Apparel experienced a very strong month with men’s clothing in particular, confirming Amazon’s growing reputation as a clothing destination for our tried and true favorites. The big winners in this group were Levi’s 501 Original Fit Jeans and workwear items like Dickies Coveralls and Carhartt Hoodies.
Product Group #2: Books (57% growth)
Books and Ebooks continue to jockey for position, with one or the other taking the growth lead month after month. In October, physical books won out and, in terms of absolute growth, experienced the largest gain of any Amazon product group with an increase in sales of over $84M. Categorically, what drove the highest growth were Children’s Books, driven by early holiday shopping, with more than $41M in sales; followed by Religion & Spirituality (that includes books about witchcraft and other “spooky” subjects); and Business & Investing. Included in this last category is the month’s top seller: The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, published on October 18th and, in less than 2 weeks, climbed to for the #1 spot for all of October.
Product Groups #3: Video Games (30% growth) & #4: Toys (20% growth)
It’s certainly not news that toy companies pull in 80% of their annual revenue in the last 3 months of the year. This October, toy sales on Amazon increased by $22M. Video games also grew in tandem, increasing sales by 30% leading into the holiday season. There is no doubt that the recent launch of PlayStation VR, the new Virtual Reality headset for the PS4 console, had something to do with it, along with the video games on everyone’s Christmas list this year (Battlefield 1 and FIFA 17, both for PlayStation 4, are already selling like hotcakes!).
Further proof of the race toward Christmas, LEGO’s two top-sellers in October were both Advent Calendar Building Kits, with “Slickdeals” postings for each item. LEGO accounts for 5 of the 10 best-selling toys, two of them Star Wars-branded. But the real must-have toys this holiday season are all robots: LEGO’s robot Mindstorms EV3 continues to sell well after its September launch; and Hatchimals interactive plush creatures took two of the top 10 spots, behind only Cozmo, the “real-life robot” from Anki Consumer Robotics and Amazon’s best-selling toy for October.
Product Group #5 (Tie): Office Products & Ebooks (13% growth each)
Tied for the fifth highest growth rate at 13% are Office Products and Ebooks. Amazon has invested heavily in the Amazon Business platform in order to take advantage of the year-round sales potential of office products. It seems to be paying off: the category was up by nearly $20M in October, with the Fijutsu, Brother and HP brands all going strong. Although Books experienced the most overall dollar growth in October after a relatively poor September, Ebooks still experienced a very strong month with over $114M in sales.
Runners up: Mattress, Home Improvement
Amazon continues to see growth in unexpected places, particularly in the Mattress category, which accounted for over $23M in sales in October. More and more, consumers are finding that Amazon can meet their Home Improvement needs, with over $20M in sales each in the Plumbing, Electric and Hardware categories. Product groups with year-round demand, such as Furniture, Home and Office Supplies, appear to be one of Amazon’s longer-term strategies. There’s no question that Amazon owns the holiday market, including Halloween, as October’s growth leaders demonstrate.
This year, robots are the toy of choice for the children of Amazon customers. But holiday shopping is just getting started and November’s Top Product Groups could paint a very different picture, so visit us again in a month’s time for the latest scoop on what’s selling and what’s driving those sales on Amazon. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Slideshare as we reveal some key eCommerce data and insights only the OCR team can deliver.