Holiday 2020 Analysis: The 8 Amazon Categories Most Likely to Experience Stockouts

Hamilton Noel

October 5, 2020

It’s the messiest time of the year, at least when it comes to ecommerce. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect businesses, supply chains, and inventory across the globe, this year’s holiday season is projected to look a bit more chaotic than years past. Stockouts in major categories are anticipated to be one of the biggest issues for holiday 2020 ecommerce for both consumers and brands.

Pattern conducted an analysis over the past 90 days to determine which Amazon categories are currently experiencing inventory stockouts and which are most likely to experience stockouts this holiday season. Considering the substantial consumer behavior shifts in 2020, we share what we’ve learned for brands and consumers alike so they can prepare for what to successfully sell and purchase this 2020 holiday ecommerce season on Amazon.

Shifting holiday consumer behavior: More shopping online, less brand loyalty

What makes this holiday season a cocktail of uncertainty is the additional factor of shifting consumer behavior due to the pandemic. In August, Fluent forecasted a 73% increase in consumers who shop exclusively online this holiday season.

Additional data from Qubit indicates that consumer loyalty is on the decline, with 36.6% of consumers saying they now shop with more brands than they did a year ago and 46.2% saying they are less loyal to the brands they love.

Much of this data is due to supply chain interruptions and inventory stockouts at the start of the pandemic that pushed consumers to other brands, and with the potential for a big second COVID-19 wave looming, it’s more important than ever to get your inventory in before the holidays.

Categories expected to be safe from holiday 2020 stockouts

We’ll start with the safe items. The following categories are those least likely to experience inventory shortages during the 2020 holidays:

  • Electronics
  • Musical instruments
  • Arts and crafts
  • Cell phone accessories
  • Automotive

Tech manufacturers in particular have done a good job of keeping their items in stock and available to consumers this year, and the data shows things like chargers, computer monitors, and laptop accessories are pretty safe.

There are some outliers within these categories. Car seat covers, protective gear, and accessories, for example, are expected to see stockouts in the automotive category.

‘Tis also the season for strumming. Another exception in this category are guitars. Guitars are selling fast and the instrument most likely to see inventory shortages in the music category for holiday 2020. That’s one you’ll want to get ahead of now.

Amazon categories most at risk for holiday 2020 stockouts

Here are the categories you’ll want to pay close attention to for holiday 2020 on ecommerce. They’re the most likely to experience widespread stockouts during the holidays:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Jewelry
  • Appliances
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Baby Products
  • Pet Supplies

Within these categories are several subcategories especially at risk. We’ve broken some of them down below.

1. Appliances

Some items that will be especially difficult to get your hands on as the 2020 holidays approach are ice makers, refrigerators, and freezers. With the colder months approaching, along with fears of a second wave of the pandemic, emergency preparedness is on many consumers’ minds and they’re buying these products early to make sure they have lots of space to store their perishable food products.

Aside from refrigerators and freezers, ranges, range hoods, ovens, and cooktops are also experiencing stockouts right now that are expected to stretch into the holidays. Small appliances, like toasters and microwaves, are also on the move.

2. Home & Kitchen

Shoppers have been buying lots of home and kitchen products as stay-at-home orders have been prolonged, and that trend will continue into the 2020 holidays on ecommerce. With the extra time at home and the additional challenge of having to create workspaces at home, consumers are refurnishing their houses in large numbers. Furniture is seeing shortages right now that are expected to continue through the end of the year.

Shoppers are also making their outlets and tech go further while they’re working from home. Cords, adapters, and multi-outlets are also experiencing shortages right now.

People are investing more in their outdoor patio spaces this year. Patio furniture and accessories as well as doormats are also experiencing stockouts. Another subcategory that’s a hot commodity now is bedding. Right now, consumers are trading out their coverlets for comforters as sweater weather arrives.

This was true for March and April, and it will be true throughout the rest of the year: all-purpose cleaners are experiencing shortages. The impending flu and cold season combined with COVID-19 are once again driving customers to buy health and household goods. A notable exception is vitamins and supplements, which are unlikely to go out of stock.

3. Clothing

Clothing had a fairly rocky start of the year, excluding items like pajama pants and shirts, but purchases are picking up as people have slowly begun to leave their houses more. The men and boys categories in particular are expected to have holiday stockouts. Bra and underwear sales have seen unusual spikes as the summer’s come to an end, with lingerie in particular experiencing stockouts right now.

4. Office Products

With social distancing measures still in place, more and more consumers are getting crafty and communicating the old fashioned way. Greeting cards and card stock are seeing big stockouts right now, possibly because shoppers are sending more get well cards. With families spending more time apart this year and Christmas card season peeking right over the horizon, you’ll want to make sure your card inventory is stocked early. Cards are going to go fast.

Additional products we’re seeing shortages of are binders and paper.

5. Sports & Outdoors Equipment

Twenty-twenty is the year of the at-home workout, and early inventory indicators show that strength training equipment is very likely to see stockouts this holiday season as customers continue to beef up their home gyms. In addition to strength training equipment, consumers are also buying yoga related equipment in large numbers, so make sure to hop on that early, too.

Additional products seeing shortages in this subcategory right now are sports and outdoors clothing, water bottles, and fan-related goods, like jerseys and t-shirts.

6. Baby Products

Baby products have been seeing a higher spike in stockouts this fall. That’s possibly due to more family planning happening during COVID-19. Blankets and swaddling are low in inventory as well as baby bedding, diapering, pacifiers, sippy cups, and activities/entertainment for babies. You’ll want to start now to make sure your baby inventory is pretty well-stocked across the board.

7. Beauty & Personal Care

While most beauty subcategories have struggled with sales in 2020, there are some exceptions. Shampoo and conditioner are experiencing stockouts right now. Another item flying off the shelves is nailpolish. That’s one product to look at right now instead of waiting.

8. Pet Supplies

Pet supplies are generally safe. However, as more people are buying pets and spending more time at home with their pets, pet beds and pet furniture are experiencing stockouts. Those are the items to look at in the pets category.

The trick to doing well on ecommerce this 2020 holiday season may just be to stay ahead with your inventory. Pattern’s proprietary software can help brands forecast demand and avoid stockouts and missed sales. To learn how Pattern can help your business succeed this holiday season and beyond, contact us in the form below. Check out our holiday to-do list for Amazon sellers to learn more.

Methodology For this analysis, we took a sample of about ~70K of the current most popular products on Amazon, as measured by rank. This plays out to be about 4,000 products for every major category on Amazon. We used the Keepa database to pull product information and look at historic stockouts in the past 90 days for these products. We then aggregated stockout rates at general category levels as well as subcategories within those general categories.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)