Over the past year, consumers have been spending much more time at home due to COVID-19. The pandemic, coupled with numerous lockdown restrictions, have made the ecommerce market ripe for disruption and expansion.
Naturally, consumers have come to appreciate the convenience of placing orders online via popular digital retailers like Amazon.
In fact, Amazon sales have generated total net sales of nearly $96.15 billion, a 37.4% increase from the same quarter of 2019.
In this post, Ignite’s Sr. Amazon Strategist Samantha Blush will walk you through the top Amazon trends, provide expert tips for leveraging these insights, and give pointers for how to get noticed in trending categories.
What We’ll Cover:
- What is Trending on Amazon?
- Expert Tips for Using These Insights
- Getting Noticed in Trending Categories
What is Trending on Amazon?
According to eMarketer, Amazon saw a nearly 40% increase in year-over-year sales growth in 2020, with brick-and-mortar expected to decline by 3.2%.
What explains this shift in buying behavior?
Put simply, as consumer apprehension about the pandemic and social distancing protocols continues to grow, a contactless shopping experience gives them peace of mind.
While 40% of U.S. shoppers have reduced spending in general, 62% say they shop online more frequently now than they did pre-pandemic.
So, what are some of the main Amazon trends we’re seeing?
Amazon Trend #1: Grocery and Gourmet Foods
Among other online retailers, Amazon led the pack as the top e-grocery shopping destination.
A Coresight Research U.S. Online Grocery survey released last May revealed an overall increase in buying groceries online:
Grocery and gourmet food sales increased by 26% in the U.S. in 2020, with people stocking up mainly on essentials and non-perishables to limit the necessity of making regular trips to the grocery store.
Amazon Trend #2: Health and Safety Products
As health and safety products were being bought faster than they can be restocked, it’s no wonder that sales skyrocketed during the first few months of 2020.
These include items that people associate with taking active measures to prevent getting infected with COVID-19.
According to data from Nielsen, items like hygienic and medical mask sales increased by more than 300%.
Amazon Trend #3: Backyard Improvement Products
With most people confined to their homes, one of the safest places for enjoying outdoor activities is a person’s own backyard. Especially as vacation plans are canceled and travel restrictions tighten, Amazon customers are looking for new ways to spruce up their outdoor space.
This can help explain why the need for products under the “Patio, Lawn, & Garden” category has risen by 44% in Italy and 35% in Germany. In the US, the increase reached 9%.
Amazon Trend #4: Household Items
Everyone remembers the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. As costs were rising in retail stores and supplies were selling out, more coronavirus-worried consumers began to shop for household staples like toilet paper, bleach, and hand sanitizers on Amazon.
In addition to product availability, more people were also flocking to Amazon because they didn’t have any purchase limits on essentials like the ones found in many grocery store chains.
Amazon Trend #5: Personal Care Products
Amid limits on in-person beauty services, many customers began adjusting their spending habits and buying products that allowed them to enjoy the salon experience at home.
Some of the Amazon trending products to emerge during the pandemic also include at-home beauty tools, hair care products meant to preserve color, serums, and blue-light-blocking skincare.
Amazon Trend #6: Baby Products
When the pandemic first hit, panic buying left many stores empty of baby essentials like wipes, diapers, and formula.
On March 23rd, Amazon confirmed that it would be prioritizing the shipment of baby products to its warehouses.
As a result, baby product sales surged online, with a nearly 240% week-over-week increase and a staggering 1,197% month-over-month, as of March 30th, 2020.
Amazon Trend #7: Home Office
As stay-at-home orders were being implemented worldwide, more people found themselves unprepared for remote work.
Subsequently, laptop sales peaked during this time and became trending items on Amazon.
Isam Arshad, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International, noted in April of 2020 that “Online sales are expected to grow by 40% year on year in the first quarter and continue the upward trend until May, but the supply chain is not able to meet the demand as the delivery of online orders is getting delayed.”
In the U.K., many companies even resorted to bulk buying in an effort to ensure their firms’ continuous operation regardless of changing regulations.
Amazon Trend #8: Entertainment and Activities
Although regulations varied quite a bit across the globe, major closures of non-essential businesses and schools were announced sometime between the 13th and 16th of March 2020. Around this same time, the CDC issued a recommendation stating that events and gatherings exceeding 90 people or more should be canceled.
Perhaps one of the least surprising Amazon trends of all, more people were starting to search for new ways to entertain themselves and their children during the lockdown.
Searches for “toys and games” increased by 36% in Germany, 30% in Italy, and 10% in the U.S.
Amazon Trend #9: Indoor Fitness
Social distancing doesn’t mean that exercise is off the table, but it does mean that trips to the gym were no longer an option.
And as fitness centers were ordered to close, searches for equipment under the “Sports & Outdoors” category soared, as these trending items on Amazon accommodated limited contact.
Retailer Halfords reported a rise in sales of exercise bikes, saying, “People who are not able to get out still want to exercise indoors.”
Amazon Trend #10: Digital Streaming
With more people homebound and unable to pursue external entertainment options like attending concerts or going to the movies, there was a sharp increase in digital streaming services last year.
Amazon Prime gained significant ground during this period, accruing the most new subscribers in the video-on-demand market, adding 14 million U.S. Prime members since December 2019, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Overall, viewing figures for video streaming services jumped by more than 70% from 2019.
Expert Tips for Using These Insights
So, what do all of these trends mean for those of us in the digital marketing world?
It means that the pandemic has accelerated the speed at which we need to make decisions using this newfound reliance on technology to our benefit. Here are a few ways marketers can make that happen:
Getting Noticed in Trending Categories
Since Amazon’s search is far more focused than other web search engines, knowing which factors will impact your rank will enable you to make your product pages appeal more to users.
To maximize your Amazon search ranking, keep these tips in mind:
- Bid on short, high volume keywords (ie. “hand wipes”, “hand sanitizer”). They may be expensive and accrue wasted spend, but we know consumers are typically searching very broadly and are brand agnostic for these sorts of products, particularly on Amazon.
- In addition to understanding how you’re performing for the keywords you’re tracking, you’ll need to understand how your competitors are ranking, as well as how many products are available in a certain product category. Remember—the less competition there is for a given product, the easier it will be to rank.
- Utilize segment maps, as they are an effective way to visualize your product offerings for search. Be sure to organize them in a way that’s easy to understand and makes the most sense for your customers.
It’s unclear how much of “the new normal” will stay once restrictions lift. But based on some of the Amazon trends outlined in this post, buying habits have changed dramatically and perhaps, forever.
According to Shopify, 53% of North American buyers claim that the pandemic has impacted the way they will shop indefinitely.
This means that businesses should take this time to reprioritize their target customers, reevaluate their brand strategy, and enhance their ecommerce experience.