Amazon Increases Product Listings 43 Percent Heading into Holidays

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CommerceHub Product Assortment Index shows e-commerce giant grew SKUs almost three times faster than traditional retailers in the third quarter of 2014

After a slow start to the year, Amazon grew its online product listings by 43 percent in the third quarter as the holiday shopping season approached, according to the CommerceHub Product Assortment Index.

According to the index, Amazon added four times as many SKUs to its website between July and September than it did in the entire first half of 2014. The online retail giant reduced its product assortment by 7 percent in the first quarter and slowly ramped up in the second quarter, increasing listings by 18 percent.

The third-quarter explosion marks the first time this year that Amazon has added products at a faster pace than other large retailers included in the CommerceHub Product Assortment Index, which tracks more than 600 million SKUs every week. Collectively, those retailers increased their product assortment by 15 percent over the same period.

With many pre-holiday predictions indicating that e-commerce sellers will see record sales this year, Amazon is adding products in key categories ahead of Black Friday. Traditional retailers have also been steadily increasing their product assortment throughout the year as they race to catch up with Amazon’s vast number of SKUs.

“Product assortment expansion is an important growth lever for retailers,” said Frank Poore, CEO and founder of CommerceHub, which provides a sourcing, merchandising and fulfillment platform that connects retailers and suppliers. “Amazon has proved that massive listings can drive sales and revenue, and other retailers are aggressively expanding their product assortments to provide consumers with exactly what they want.”

Amazon’s product assortment growth focused on a few specific categories heading into the holidays, including electronics, home improvement, home goods, and health and beauty. The company reduced listings in baby and kids, and toys and games, two categories where other retailers added products.

Over the course of the entire year, other major retailers have added products faster than Amazon. Traditional retailers grew SKUs by 82 percent in the first nine months of the year, outpacing Amazon in 13 of 15 categories.

“Traditional retailers are growing their product assortments significantly to increase their scale,” Poore said. “Amazon has invested millions of dollars in fulfillment centers worldwide to offer such a massive product assortment at strategic times of the year, but this approach is simply not realistic for most retailers, who are increasingly turning to third-party suppliers to expand their assortment through virtual inventory fulfillment.”

The CommerceHub Product Assortment Index tracks more than 600 million products listed on the websites of large retail websites and marketplaces that carry a wide assortment of products, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Sears and national department stores.

For more information about CommerceHub, please visit CommerceHub.com.

About CommerceHub
CommerceHub supports ecommerce and omni-channel success by providing a virtual integration platform and toolset that streamlines the end-to-end process of sourcing, marketing, merchandizing, fulfillment and delivery of an endless digital product aisle.

For more than 15 years, CommerceHub has been providing cloud-based technologies and services that enable retailers to radically expand their product offering without inventory risk. CommerceHub makes it possible to integrate with any product source, and provides all of the tools necessary to identify new sources of products, rapidly build SKUs, and ensure the smooth the delivery of goods to customers. Providing an unparalleled platform and scalability, CommerceHub in 2013 helped top online retailers in the U.S. and Canada achieve $7 billion in retail sales through drop-ship fulfillment. These expanded assortment orders were successfully processed and fulfilled directly to consumers by more than 8,500 integrated suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and third-party sellers.

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Kelsey Gunderson
Walker Sands Communications
+1 312.880.1923
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