Amazon’s flourishing gray market represents a major threat to brand image, particularly in the Personal Care sector, where third-party vendors account for 73% of the top listings. Even the top-performing enterprises on Amazon sell less than half of their products directly, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Personal Care.

The study also reveals a wide gap in enterprise performance. Procter & Gamble sells 42% of products directly on Amazon, more than any other enterprise. For example, P&G brand Gillette maintains strict control over its inventory, ensuring that more than 95% of SKUs are fulfilled directly by the e-tailer. Meanwhile, Unilever – P&G’s largest competitor – ranks second-to-last in SKU control, with only 26% of its products fulfilled directly.

This trend remains consistent across e-tailers, according to the study. The top performers on Amazon (P&G, Kimberly-Clark, and Philips) also perform well on Walmart and Target – suggesting that they are leveraging enterprise efficiencies.

Comparative Search Visibility & Merchandising Efforts Across E-Tailers

In addition to ensuring that products are sold directly by e-tailers, these top performers also invest more in merchandising. For example, 60% of P&G brand product pages on Amazon contain clippable coupons, while not a single Unilever brand has done so. Investment in e-tailers seems to be an all-or-nothing strategy. Either enterprises make consistent investments across platforms, or they focus investments elsewhere – at their own peril.

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