In The Battle For Apparel Shoppers: Amazon Vs Walmart

In The Battle For Apparel Shoppers: Amazon Vs Walmart

October 8, 2020

Becca Kuo

Senior Digital Commerce Manager

Becca is an expert in all aspects of Amazon Advertising Platform, Vendor, and Seller Central, and has worked for brands such as Payless, Sam’s Club, and Target. Equipped with her e-commerce expertise, she collaborates with cross-functional teams to grow revenue. 

Both Amazon and Walmart are outstanding e-commerce retailers. Walmart Inc. has surpassed eBay Inc. in market share of U.S. e-commerce sales for the first time, according to data provided by eMarketer in May 2020. Amazon tops the list with 38% of all U.S. e-commerce sales share, followed by Walmart with 5.8% and eBay with 4.5%.

As COVID-19 started to spread and lockdowns were being implemented, both Amazon and Walmart began expanding their offer for online grocery shopping with the high hopes of gaining apparel shoppers as well for the second half of 2020.

Back in May, Amazon partnered with Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and launched a digital storefront. The online retail giant also held its first ever fashion sale at the end of June to help both well-known and smaller fashion brands. Amazon’s attempt to establish itself as an apparel and fashion destination didn’t stop there.

  • Amazon introduced the “Luxury Store”
    • Amazon launched a Luxury Store with Oscar de La Renta which was only available to U.S. Prime members by invitation. It featured the Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 collections that included RTW pieces, handbags, accessories, and even new perfume. With the Amazon app, the “View in 360” interactive feature allowed shoppers to view select pieces in a full 360-degree rotation to determine the best fit which made shopping easier.

Luxury Store with Oscar de La Renta

  • Amazon expands Personal Shopper service for men
    • For $4.99 a month, an Amazon stylist selects an assortment of personalized clothes that match shopper’s style and preferences. The service itself is similar in many ways to other fashion subscription services like Stitch Fix – the items would be shipped to shoppers’ home for free, with a seven-day try-on period and free returns.

Walmart has been making attempts to gain apparel shoppers as well. In recent years, they made various clothing acquisitions from Bare Necessities, Eloquii, Bonobos, and Modcloth. Walmart also launched a denim line by actress Sofia Vergara in 2019 and has stayed busy in 2020.

  • Walmart unveiled a new private apparel label “Free Assembly”
    • Free Assembly is Walmart’s new modern fashion brand that offers elevated style essentials at an incredible value. The brand offers men’s and women’s clothing with prices ranging from $9 to $45. They believe that customers would be wowed by the high-quality pieces at prices below other American clothing brands. For example, a $45 structured blazer with an updated silhouette, or a $39 viscose tiered maxi for women.

In early days of the COVID-19, it was thought that apparel would not be one of the top performing categories. The decline in apparel sales may have been true for many brick-and-mortar clothing stores but it offered a unique opportunity for Amazon and Walmart. With lockdowns and stay in place orders being implemented, shoppers were no longer going to retail apparel stores. Instead, they began shopping online and were finding that online retailers provided wide ranges of options that fit their needs. With the lack of travel, entertainment, and dining out, plus the arrival of stimulus checks, consumers had more money to spend which lead to an increase in demand in apparel throughout Q3.

While Amazon and Walmart expanded their offering in groceries, groceries are known as a low-margin business and does not compare to apparel, which carry a higher margin, especially in private brands or luxury brands.

A study from eMarketer uncovered more than 50% of shoppers expect to remain the same or increase their holiday spending this year. With Amazon Prime day and Walmart’s Big Saving Event kicking off the holiday shopping season, we can expect both e-commerce giants to generate a higher interest and sales from apparels through those events.

To learn more about Velocity Commerce Group and how we can help you identify the opportunities on Amazon or Walmart, please reach out to us on LinkedIn, or on our website. Let’s Talk!

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