Online Home Improvement, Etsy Free Shipping, Amazon Hires

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Amazon Continues to Lead Online Home Improvement Category
Our research indicates online Home Improvement sales have seen strong growth recently. In partnering with Stackline on this report, its digital shelf data indicates Amazon is seeing the fastest growth in the category at 45% Y/Y growth compared to Home Depot trending at ~25% Y/Y, and Lowe’s having to focus mostly on its B&M business. For 2019, we anticipate this dynamic will continue, with Amazon likely to see growth in the 40%+ range, Home Depot at 23% growth, and Lowe’s at 15% growth. A big reason for growth in 2019 is pricing in the category trending higher, which we attribute to a combination of price increases passed through from tariffs, manufacturers refining their assortment, and Amazon delisting items through its CRaP initiative.

Etsy Announces Plan to Focus on Free Shipping
Source: Etsy.com

Etsy Announces Plan to Focus on Free Shipping
This week Etsy announced that they are planning to make free shipping a core part of the shopping experience on the platform. In enabling this, the company announced new tools and support to help sellers guarantee free shipping to US buyers with a minimum order of at least $35, as well as giving priority search results to items that ship free. This echoes Amazon’s move to give priority placement to 3P shippers who are able to provide prime shipping either through Fulfillment by Amazon or Seller Fulfilled Prime, as fast free shipping has proven to be a key driver to improved purchase conversion. While there has been some pushback by sellers on the change, Etsy’s CEO noted in a public letter to sellers that shoppers are 20% more likely to complete their purchase if free shipping is offered to buyers. This change highlights the continued importance of logistics to a successful eCommerce strategy, and the raising of the bar for fast and free shipping for consumers. 

Brands Hiring for a Broad Variety of Amazon Roles
Research from our Teams Benchmark indicated that brands are hiring to staff a broad variety of roles to support their Amazon account. The largest categories include Sales and Account Management, Analytics, Operations, and Advertising, however it is interesting to note that brands are hiring directly for Amazon in a number of roles that traditionally would have supported the broader organization including Analytics, Logistics, and Finance/Accounting. 

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