8 Amazon Categories That Could Stockout This Holiday Season

Pattern Data Science

November 9, 2021

It’s safe to say that the 2021 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be unlike any we’ve seen before. The phrase “supply chain” has gone from being limited to boardrooms and classrooms to something at the front of every shopper’s mind.

Still reeling from the long term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and suppliers are bracing for a holiday shopping season even more chaotic and stressful than last year’s. And stockouts in major categories are anticipated to be one of the biggest issues for 2021’s holiday 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 this year’s substantial challenges, we share what we’ve learned for brands and consumers alike so they can prepare for what to successfully sell and purchase this 2021 holiday ecommerce season on Amazon. The big lesson? Brands cannot delay prepping for the holiday season.

Consumers expected to do even more holiday shopping online this year than ever before

Despite the uncertainty surrounding this year’s holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation expects this to be the biggest holiday shopping season ever. Their 2021 forecast anticipates an 8.5% to 10% increase in holiday shopping sales compared to last year. No small feat, considering last year’s significant 8.2% increase from 2019’s shopping season.

The report also predicts even larger growth in ecommerce shopping this holiday season. They expect that online and other non-store sales will increase by 11% to 15% compared to 2020, which would account for between $218 and $226 billion in online sales.

Long story short: online demand is going to be at an all-time high this holiday season, which means it’s more important than ever for brands and businesses to get their inventory in before the holidays.

Which is why we felt it would be important to dive into our data and get a feel for which types of items are currently most (or least) on track to run out of stock this holiday season.

Here’s a quick look at the major categories on Amazon, and which ones are the most (and least) on track to run out of stock:

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Categories expected to be safest from holiday 2021 stockouts

We’ll start with the safe items. As you can see in the chart above, the following categories are those least likely to experience inventory shortages during the 2021 holidays:

  • Books
  • CDs & Vinyl
  • Beauty & Personal Care
  • Automotive
  • Electronics

Both the book category and the CDs and Vinyl category are, far and away, experiencing the least amount of stockout. So if you have a bookworm or a record collector on your shopping list, you can breathe easy. And if you supply these products, you may not need to panic call your warehouses.

Beauty and personal care is the next lowest item on the list, but it’s important to note that some items in this category are actually experiencing pretty high levels of stockout. For example, nail polish is currently 14% out of stock, and extensions & wigs are 11% out of stock. Items that are much safer in this category are moisturizers (3% out of stock), face masks (4%), and bath and bathing accessories (4%).

Automotive items are well-stocked, but again, some automotive items like protective gear, seat covers, and accessories are on track to experience some stockouts.

It may come as a surprise to some, but tech manufacturers have done a fairly good job of keeping their items in stock and available to consumers this year despite the many supply chain challenges and chip shortages. Items that appear to be safest in this category include: networking products, cord management items, desktops, laptops, and monitors. Cameras and surveillance equipment, however, may be much harder to find.

Amazon categories most at risk for holiday 2021 stockouts

Here are the categories most likely to experience widespread stockouts this holiday shopping season:

  • Clothing
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Patio, Lawn & Garden
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Baby Products
  • Tools & Home Improvement

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

1. Clothing

This year, clothing is the category experiencing the highest levels of stockout as we enter the holiday shopping season. Here’s a deeper look at which types of clothing are going to be the hardest (or easiest) to get your hands on this year:

As you can see, shoppers are going to be struggling to find all types of clothing this holiday season.

Activewear is currently the subcategory most on track to run out, with over a quarter of the inventory currently out of stock. Girls clothing is the next most out of stock, with costumes & accessories not far behind (which is to be expected on the heels of Halloween).

Multiple types of clothing are already seeing more than 20% of their inventory out of stock, including: lingerie, sleep and lounge, tops, tees, blouses, and men’s clothing.

Even the subcategories at the bottom of the list, like sweaters and baby clothing, are on track to see dangerously low levels of inventory by the end of the shopping season. So if you’re in the clothing industry, it’s going to be more important than ever to stay ahead of demand as much as possible in the weeks and months ahead.

2. Appliances

It looks like the cooking and baking trend that started in the early days of the pandemic hasn’t slowed down at all. Cooktops, ovens, ranges, and range hoods are on track to be especially difficult to get your hands on as the 2021 holidays approach.

Ice makers, refrigerators, and freezers are also experiencing low inventory levels expected to stretch into the holidays. So shoppers looking to upgrade their kitchen ahead of holiday gatherings or as a holiday present should be encouraged to make those big purchases as soon as possible.

3. Sports & Outdoors

Once again, it’s clothing that’s at real risk of a holiday shortage, as 21% of outdoor clothing is currently out of stock. Water bottles, a popular go-to gift for any friend or family member, are in danger of running out of stock already. As, it seems, are many other smaller types of sports and outdoor accessories.

Fan-related items like team gear, jerseys, t-shirts, etc. are also experiencing high levels of low inventory.

4. Patio, Lawn & Garden

The middle of winter may not feel like peak patio or lawn and garden shopping time for many parts of the country, but the category is on track to experience some stockout all the same.

Outdoor decor, doormats, plant containers, and flags might all be tough to get your hands on this holiday shopping season. Even more summer-associated items like garden hoses and patio furniture are running low levels on inventory, which may be following seasonality of demand.

5. Home & Kitchen

Last year was huge for home and kitchen item sales. With the pandemic keeping millions of people inside their houses for much of the year, this category was the #2 most likely to experience stockout in our 2020 analysis.

It may have dropped to #5 this year, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have problems finding certain home and kitchen items this holiday shopping season.

Travel and to-go food containers actually top this list this year, with bedding not far behind. Bath, home decor, and furniture may all experience shortages this holiday shopping season as well.

Small appliances, bakeware, and cookware, meanwhile, are all far less on track to run out of inventory. This suggests that after having refreshed their kitchen during the first year of the pandemic, many Americans are now moving on to the bedroom and the bathroom this year.

6. Baby Products

Baby products have been seeing a higher spike in stockouts once again this year. Blankets and swaddling are low in inventory as well as storage and organization, baby bedding, nursery items, bathing, and furniture.

Whether you’ve got a new baby at home, are expecting one before the holidays, or have new parents on the shopping list, you shouldn’t wait to make these holiday purchases this year.

7. Tools & Home Improvement

Unsurprisingly, masks, respirators, and PPE top the list of tools and home improvement supplies experiencing the lowest inventory levels.

String lights are already running low on inventory, so if you’re postponing putting up your Christmas lights, you might want to rethink that idea.

Other items in this category that are at risk of running out of inventory this year include building materials, safety and security equipment (which we also saw running low in our electronics category as well), and cords, adapters, and multi-outlets.

8. Musical Instruments

Don’t procrastinate shopping for the musicians on your list this year. Popular instruments like guitars, drums, and general band and orchestra instruments are all starting to run low on inventory already.

Other popular at-home music options like ukuleles, home studio equipment, and keyboards, are also in danger of running low this year as many people chose to spend that extra at-home pandemic time making music and have depleted Amazon’s inventory.

A quick look at other subcategories most at risk of holiday 2021 stockout

Now that we dove deep in the top 8 categories most likely to experience stockout, we wanted to examine the subcategories across other categories we looked at to see which ones are the most on track to run out of inventory this holiday shopping season.

Here are the 10 subcategories most at risk of stockout from the rest of the categories in our analysis:

A lesson for brands

Our data reinforces the idea that the holiday shopping season 2021 might see higher levels of stockout than any year before.

Better understanding inventory levels and consumer demand is more important than ever. Running out of inventory on a popular item early in the shopping season can quickly and easily sour your relationship with retail partners, leaving them eager to find someone more equipped to manage their inventory. It can also leave your Amazon listing available for another seller to grab the buy box.

Plus, stockouts can leave the end consumer feeling frustrated with your brand both this year and even in the future. Either way, staying ahead of your inventory is a crucial part of preparing your brand for the 2021 holiday shopping season. Pattern’s proprietary software can help brands forecast demand, avoid stockouts and missed sales, and advertise effectively across all inventory levels.

To learn how Pattern can help you leverage your data so your business can succeed this holiday season and beyond, schedule a demo today.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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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/)

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand
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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.

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)
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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)