Amazon overtook Walmart to become the top apparel and footwear retailer in the U.S. last year, as online sales jumped during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research from the American bank Wells Fargo.
The e-commerce giant’s apparel and footwear sales in the U.S. grew by about 15 percent in 2020 to over $41 billion, some 20 to 25 percent above Walmart, the research showed. Wells Fargo estimates Amazon’s combined apparel and footwear sales will top $45 billion this year.
Amazon now accounts for 30 to 35 percent of the online apparel and footwear market in the U.S., Wells Fargo found, almost seven times as much as retailer Macy’s, its closest online competitor.
Analysts at Wells Fargo noted that Amazon’s dominant position comes despite a complicated relationship with some brands, which have pulled their products from the online marketplace. Birkenstock said in 2016 that it would no longer sell on Amazon, explaining that the e-commerce group had become overrun by counterfeits and unauthorized sellers which it feared could “jeopardize” its brand. Nike announced in 2019 that it would no longer sell shoes and clothes directly to Amazon.
“Until Amazon becomes a platform that works with companies to elevate brands, rather than viewing the relationship as transactional, companies who are fiercely protective of their brands will not sell to Amazon,” Wells Fargo analysts said.