Amazon gaining foothold in nontraditional e-commerce

Amazon sold more than $16.5 million worth of major home appliances in 2016.

Amazon's sales of bulkier, nontraditional e-commerce items are growing. Items such as tools and home appliances, along with home improvement, outdoor and sporting goods, are gaining traction, according to research from One Click Retail. 

The biggest growth is in the tools and home improvement market, where Amazon has seen a growth rate of 35%, much larger than the actual U.S. market's growth of 6%. In some specific categories, purchases are up more than 20%: woodworking, 30%; tool organization and garage storage, 35%; and power saws, 25%. 

In outdoor and sporting goods, Amazon's year-over-year growth stands at 20%, four times the rate of the overall market. Amazon's gains are no surprise, as physical U.S. sporting goods retailers have had a tough few years, with big names such as Sports Authority and Golfsmith filing for bankruptcy. 

"Amazon understands that it's the consumer driving the company's success," said One Click Retail's Vice President Nathan Rigby. "The ways they are innovating new services and offerings, they are doing so with one thing in mind: is this what the consumer wants? Amazon isn't just selling you the bike, they're selling you the service to professionally assemble it and deliver it to your door. It's no surprise that Amazon bike sales increase 50%."

Finally, Amazon sold more than $16.5 million worth of major home appliances in 2016, with top performers being refrigeration, cooking and laundry. Overall, the Amazon market of housewares was up 30% and the e-commerce giant is poised to severely disrupt the large and midsize appliance market. Much of this growth is attributed to millennials, who spend more than twice as much on housewares online versus other demographics. 

Rigby says that the growth and impact of Amazon is not surprising. However, what is surprising is which brands—from traditional heavyweights as well as digital-only newbies—are succeeding and which are failing on the Amazon platform. For example, in the sporting goods space, Schwinn bikes are succeeding but another well-known brand, Giant bikes, is practically nonexistent. Similarly, Rigby sees the same trends in athletic apparel. He gives as an example of a brand that is doing well is Under Armour, while Nike is risking its own market erosion.

Rigby expects that these segmented areas will only continue to grow for Amazon as more and more traditional retailers go out of business and "Amazon continues to deliver game-changing solutions to consumers of all types."