US Insights

Amazon serves up an early taste of Christmas

Malcolm Pinkerton

Vice President

Retail 09.19.2019 / 09:00

Amazon Prime Day box full

Amazon recently gave a preview of how it will approach the holiday season.

At its annual pre-seasonal event in London this week, celebrating “100 Days till Christmas,” Amazon served up a glimpse of what to expect from our online Yule this year. From the selection showcased, it seems like an artisan, foodie festive period awaits.

Under the “Christmas Delivered” tagline, Amazon put the usual suspects in the spotlight: Alexa, “smart home delivered,” Prime Video “entertainment delivered” and key growth driver categories beauty and fashion.

However, it was the digital-native brands under Amazon Launchpad, and the food and beverage offerings that stole the show. The “feasts delivered” area made a strong statement of intent that, for 2019, Amazon is going after greater share of the luxury Christmas menu.

Premium grocer Booths - the “Waitrose of the North” - were joined by craft butchers and bakers from Borough Market – London’s Foodie Central – plus some local gelato specialists. The artisanal array served to reinforce Amazon’s foodie credentials, with the goal clearly to present a differentiated offering from the more traditional supermarkets while also complementing its Whole Foods business. Beer wines and spirits, essential in winning Christmas, were also on display with Amazon-exclusive lines by Diageo and innovative gifting ideas – like gin sampling advent calendars.

Amazon Xmas

Interestingly, when speaking with the merchants at the event, all were planning to sell via Prime Now, rather than Amazon Fresh. Perhaps Amazon is beginning to do what it has been signalling for some time now - simplifying its grocery platforms under one banner. Or perhaps it sees high-end, extra-premium or niche exclusive products targeted at its highest-spending Prime subscribers as a sure-fire way to reinforce margin (and not to mention drive volumes for their artisan vendors).

This makes a certain kind of sense. Last Christmas, the UK’s traditional stalwarts of seasonal premium food, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, both suffered badly as the mainstream grocers and even Aldi and Lidl delivered more affordable high-end specialties. Much of the offering on display here seemed positioned a notch higher than the top end high street offering – almost as though the idea was a Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas on an Amazon Prime budget.

Amazon is sure to be one of the big winners this Christmas when it comes to gifts in stockings and under the tree. That much is certain. But whether it manages to steal a significant share of the Christmas Day dinner table versus the UK’s Big 4 and the German discounters is a question few would dare answer right now.

Source: Kantar

Editor's Notes

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