For the first time this holiday season, Calvin Klein will sell new underwear exclusively on Amazon, rather than in department stores. But while this looks like a smart move for the underwear maker, it’s not a strategy all brands should follow.
Brand interest in Amazon is understandable. The e-tailer has become the biggest apparel seller in the US, while most department stores watch sales plunge. Calvin Klein was one of the first brands to work with Amazon and has lately been doubling down on distribution, landing multiple items on the e-tailer’s Best Seller list this year. The brand has one of the highest Performance Ranks in the men’s underwear category, just under category leader Hanes and far above the norm. Distributing exclusively on the platform is likely to boost that rank even further.
But as Amazon expands its private label offerings, lower-priced non-designer brands might want to be wary of following a similar approach. In the men’s apparel category, Amazon’s private label brand is already displacing legacy brands that offer similar items in terms of style and price.
The Amazon Essentials brand’s Performance Rank surged in July, while Dockers’ score simultaneously declined. Looking at the time period leading up to Prime Day, Dockers had a Performance Score of 5.15, which declined immediately following the shopping event and continued to plummet through the end of the quarter. While Calvin Klein’s name brand will likely continue to lure underwear shoppers, Dockers might not hold a similar appeal.