The Unmentionable That Made Amazon Super-Successful

At this point, it isn’t a secret millennials are opting to shop from the comfort of their homes, and they’re choosing Amazon over most other retailers to do just that. Last year, the company accounted for about 17% of online sales for those ages 18 to 34, more than any other sellers (including major names, like Nordstrom, Victoria's Secret, and J.Crew). But, what if we told you it wasn’t all those mascaras and lipsticks you ‘added to cart’ that helped Amazon become super-successful?
On Wednesday, Business Insider reported that the company’s overwhelming success is due to — wait for it — underwear sales. So much so that Amazon is expected to surpass Macy’s as the biggest clothing retailer in the country. Seriously.
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One Click Retail, a retail consulting firm, tracked Amazon’s sales for 2016 and found that men’s bottoms and women’s intimate apparel were among the biggest areas of growth (the latter was responsible for $250 million in sales). Per the report: "A traditionally female-driven activity, online apparel shopping is luring a new male demographic. It’s easy to see how Amazon’s hassle-free shopping efforts would attract men who avoid stepping into a clothing store (instead relying on their wives or mothers for new underwear). We see a similar trend with the popularity of Women’s Intimate Apparel: women (and gift-buying men) who feel awkward buying lingerie at brick-and-mortar retailers are now going online instead." It also notes that American customers are partial to Hanes, while its British consumers prefer Calvin Klein (the report adds that the brand's recent #MyCalvins campaign "catapulted [the brand's] underwear collection into a new realm of prominence.")
Men’s and women’s underwear and intimate apparel made up two of the top five best-selling categories in 2016; the others include men's workwear, women's denim, and men's underwear. Socks are apparently extra-popular, too. Apparel sales on Amazon as a whole counted for $3.1 billion — clearly, nothing to sneeze at — which puts its recent style-minded efforts into better context.
Lesson learned today: Amazon is the house that unmentionables built. Who knew?
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