In a study of about 850,000 items listed in Amazon’s men’s and women’s apparel categories, the retail and technology research firm found that generic or un-branded merchandise increased in quantity by 906% between September 2018 and September 2019.
The single most-listed brand on Amazon’s U.S. fashion site is InterestPrint — a service that allows users purchase items, such as apparel, shoes and wall art, with designs they’ve uploaded themselves. The brand had 50,437 listings as of September — and they’re all through third-party sellers. InterestPrint had three times more product on the site than the second most-listed brand, Hanes, with 16,596 listings, per Coresight.
Amid the growing number of generic listings, Amazon has been criticized by the American Apparel and Footwear Association and fashion brands for its lax policing of third-party listings and an apparent counterfeit problem. The e-tailer said it’s been working to counteract sales of fake goods through its Project Zero program, which uses an automated scanning tool and a product serialization service to verify authenticity.
Meanwhile, several shoe players in recent years made the decision to cut ties with Amazon, citing a variety of reasons, including counterfeits and lack of brand control.
Birkenstock Americas CEO David Kahan has been vocal for years about the brand’s problems with Amazon. After Birkenstock severed ties with Amazon in 2016, Kahan argued that its open marketplace fosters an environment of “unacceptable business practices,” such as purported counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers that show “a blatant disregard for our pricing policies.”
Meanwhile, Nike announced in November that it had ended its two-year pilot program with Nike, citing a desire to focus on “elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships.” Vibram also made the decision to stop selling on Amazon in 2019. According to global chief brand officer and President Fabrizio Gamberini, Nike left Amazon to help it “stay focused on connecting with our B2B and B2C consumers.”
The supposed increase in generic brands comes amid Amazon’s years-long effort to become a bigger player in the fashion space. In addition to introducing its own in-house labels — such as The Fix — the e-tailer introduced Prime Wardrobe in 2018, which allows consumers to try on items before committing to their purchases. In August 2019, Amazon upped the ante with the launch of Personal Shopper, an outfit-in-a-box service similar to Stitch Fix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club.
FN has reached out to Amazon for comment.