Amazon’s sales of consumer electronics are incredibly stable. In 2017, there was very little change to the bestselling consumer electronics – all of the top five bestselling items of 2016 rank in the six biggest sellers from January to November 2017 (three are newer models released this year and two are the exact same ASINs as last year), and there is only one new item, the Google WiFi System.

Our data challenges the assumption that consumer electronics are highly trend-driven and that lightning-fast tech sector innovation cause items to quickly go obsolete. Instead, this reveals that consumers are more concerned with quality than fashion, and a great product can bring in strong sales even if it’s several years old.

This is not limited to Amazon, either. Nearly half (and growing) of all consumer electronic sales now take place online and Amazon is responsible for more than 40% of online spending in the U.S. So it’s fair to say that the trends we’re seeing are unlikely to be limited to Amazon, and that the industry as a whole is feeling the effect.2017 Amazon consumer electonics revenue

What’s Big on Amazon?

One of the biggest consumer-driven trends in electronics this year has been speed. The two largest categories, Drives and Computer Components, are seeing most of sales generated by hardware designed to improve computing speeds, including solid state drives (SSDs), graphics cards, processors and other upgrades. The third largest category, Networking, fits this trend as well, with consumers seeking better high-speed connections for their home WiFi networks to complement their improved processing speeds.

Top Categories 2017 Estimated Sales
(January – November)
Top Item
Drives $750M Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD
Computer Components $600M Intel Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K
Networking $550M Google WiFi System
Laptops $450M Acer Aspire E 15  Notebook
Monitors $450M HP Pavilion LED Backlit Monitor
Inputs $400M Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
Televisions $350M TCL 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV
Memory $350M SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSD Card
Headphones $300M Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones
Wireless Accessories $250M AmazonBasics Lightning to USB Cable

 

The Computer Components category has held the #2 spot since the beginning of 2016, but both Drives and Networking benefitted from strong growth in 2017. Last year, those two categories ranked as #8 and #11 within Consumer Electronics, but now rank as number #1 and #3 respectively after more than tripling in size year-over-year (YoY). While the Drives category saw growth across the board, the growth in Networking was driven primarily by new products, with one in particular generating the most growth: the Google WiFi System (more on that below).

 

What’s Old (But Still Successful)? Top consumer electronics on Amazon.com

It may come as a surprise to some, but consistency is the biggest trend we’re seeing in Consumer Electronics. A few categories are seeing significant growth, but when you zoom in on the bestselling items on Amazon, almost all of them are either the exact same top performers from last year, or this year’s model of a previous bestseller.

All of last year’s top 5 items are included in the top 6 bestsellers of 2017. Two are the exact same ASINs as last year – the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD was the most successful consumer electronic of 2016 and this year ranks as #2 as of the end of November (it also ranked as the #2 item in 2015, making it the third consecutive year with this as one of the top 2 consumer electronics items). The Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones has retained its position at #4.

Another three of the top items are newer models of 2016 bestsellers, including the current #1 item, the Acer Aspire E15 Notebook laptop. That leaves only one new item on the list, the Google WiFi System, which we will discuss further below.

International

Comparison

U.K. Germany
Top Categories
(Est. Sales)
Drives (£150M) Monitors (€550M)
Laptops (£125M) Wireless Phones (€350M)
Computer Components (£125M) Laptops (€350M)
Top Items GoPro HERO5 Action Camera AVM FRITZ!Box Router
SONOS PLAY:1 Smart Wireless Speaker Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD
Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones

 

This consistency extends to Europe as well. The top consumer electronics on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de are the same items or the same product lines that have held those positions for years. Two of the top performers are consistent across the U.S., the U.K. and Germany, namely the Bose QuietComfort 35 Headphones and the GoPro Hero5, showing that a product known for offering high quality at a great value will continue to attract consumers from year to year and from continent to continent.

Most of the other top products in Europe are speakers, routers and computer drives. In the U.K., Drives and Computer Components are having the same success we’ve seen in the U.S., while in Germany they are outranked by Monitors, Wireless Phones and Televisions. In both European countries, Amazon’s sales of Laptops are ranking much higher than in the U.S. and Networking devices are performing poorly. Availability may be an issue in all these cases, with many laptop brands in the U.S. selling through their own ecommerce platforms and the Google WiFi System currently selling at a higher price in Europe than in the U.S.

 

What’s New?amazon consumer electronics sales

The stability of Amazon’s top Consumer Electronics items doesn’t mean that there’s no room for new release. The fact that most of the top items are newer models that have directly replaced older models – such as this year’s GoPro Hero5 replacing last year’s Gero4 – shows that even the least adventurous consumers still want the latest and best technologies. It’s clear that the market leaders are firmly positioned in many spaces and committed to maintaining their position with a regular schedule of new and improved models, but at the very least it shows that it’s possible for competitors to attract consumers by offering a superior product at a good value.

And there is always room for new concepts among the top ranks if brands can target an overlooked need or niche. This year’s #3 consumer electronic is the Google WiFi System released in late October 2016. This product effectively targets consumers who are looking to increase the speed and coverage of their home WiFi networks by introduced an innovative, decentralized system which allows multiple WiFi points to broadcast the same network at multiple locations.

What brands need to take away from this example is how Google recognized – and fulfilled – a brand new consumer demand. With WiFi connectivity being built into more and more gadgets, having reliable network access throughout a wider area is highly desirable. And with many young families being heavily influenced by the internet – with many children today having their own tablets and smartphones, Google’s WiFi System allows parents to monitor and control their children’s internet usage.

Conclusion

Today, non-branded search terms are on the rise on Amazon. Recent data revealed that from October to November 2017, 55.81% of Amazon searches from desktops were non-branded. This varies based on product type – for example, GoPro and Roomba are both very popular, branded search terms – but the growth of this figure suggests that most consumers aren’t buying from the market leaders out of brand loyalty; instead, they’re still just looking for the best value.

Brands can compete against incumbents like Bose, Samsung and Intel by simply offering any combination of quality, value or innovation. Consumers are open to switching brands if there is a clear advantage to doing so. Amazon’s share of the consumer electronic space is huge, and it’s growing at a faster rate than any other retailer, so brands that have something to offer have no better place to offer it.

 

One Click Retail is the industry’s most accurate source of sales data for the world’s top eCommerce marketplaces. Using a combination of website indexing, machine learning and proprietary software, OCR estimates weekly online sales figures with market leading accuracy in order to deliver the best insights, analytics and strategies to their brand manufacturer clients. To catch a glimpse of how OCR gives brands critical edge on online platforms with our unique data and expertise, subscribe to our weekly eCommerce insights blog, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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