Amazon Shoppers Are Buying a Lot More Pet Food and Hair Dye in Quarantine

The uptick is good for Amazon brands in select categories

Out with business casual, in with athleisure wear. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Key Insights:

Amazon customers stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic have been buying more pet food, kitchen tools, haircare products and athleisure wear.

That’s according to a new study from web analytics firm SimiliarWeb, which looked at the buying habits of consumers on the ecommerce platform from January to April 2020, and compared it to the same period last year.

As online shopping has increased, it’s been particularly good for Amazon’s private label brands in some categories, but not others.

Here’s a closer look at the findings:

Pet Food and Supplies

Purchases of pet supplies on Amazon were up 66% year over year. Pet food sales were up 98%, which SimilarWeb said reflects both Amazon’s goal of driving subscriptions of products with a recurring need to cement customer loyalty, as well as its intent to challenge the ecommerce leader, Chewy, for a bigger chunk of the $21 billion pet food market.

Pet food brands Blue Buffalo, Purina and Nestlé owned 70% of category pageviews on Amazon in the January to April 2020 period. This focus on brand names has made it hard for Amazon’s private label dog food brand, Wag, to cut through the noise: It accounted for less than 1% of pageviews. AmazonBasics, however, has another pet food brand with 11% of pageviews, and SimilarWeb said Amazon has been able to grow its market share here in the last year.

AmazonBasics has had more success in the pet supplies category as it challenges the brand PetSafe, which offers containment and training products on the site.

“The product offerings are diametrically opposed, as Amazon primarily focuses on low-cost, high-purchase volume items (e.g. disposable bags), while PetSafe is best known for its training products, including leashes and electric fences,” SimilarWeb said in the report, demonstrating Amazon’s ability to cultivate consumer demand for products where price, not brand, is the primary driver.

Kitchen and Dining

Amazon shoppers are also making more purchases for their homes. While the conversion rate increase is modest from January to April 2020 (3.65%), SimilarWeb said that translates to 14.4 million more transactions.

Kitchen and dining in particular saw a 4.2% increase in conversions in early 2020, an increase of 7.8 million year over year.

“As restaurants remain closed, people are cooking more than ever and quickly realizing the lack of kitchen tools they never got around to buying,” the report said.

This, however, is a category where brand names matter. The top brands on Amazon include Cuisinart, Oxo and Hamilton Beach.

Beauty and Personal Care

Amazon has also become a more popular site for beauty and personal care products during the pandemic, with purchases up 62% year over year.

Interest in makeup is down among consumers stuck at home, but the same is not true for skin and hair care products.

In fact, between March and April 2020, the hair care category on Amazon saw visits increase 82% as salons remain closed and consumers experimented with at-home haircuts and coloring.

“Sports”

The AmazonBasics brand is also capitalizing on consumers looking for comfortable athleisure wear as they spend more time working from home.

“By offering affordable and deliverable at-home workout equipment and clothing, AmazonBasics is able to grow its consumer base at a high rate, so there’s no surprise that it’s seen such a surge in the past few months,” SimilarWeb said.

AmazonBasics has positioned itself as a category leader in terms of traffic for sports/fitness searches, followed by big names like Under Armour, Adidas and Nike (whose products are still offered by third-party sellers, though the brand pulled its merchandise from Amazon last fall).

Electronics

Electronics brands Asus and Logitech saw a huge jump in March and April as demand for work-from-home equipment increased. SimilarWeb noted Asus also benefited from an increase in customer interest in gaming products.

However, accessories like USB cords, chargers and cables, which have had 64 million searches on Amazon year-to-date in 2020, are another category where consumers care less about brand name, once again making AmazonBasics the dominant brand with 30% of traffic from January to April.

Luggage

Not surprisingly, sales of luggage and travel gear have dropped on Amazon, with total conversions in April 2020 down 65% year over year to 135,000.


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@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.