Amazon.com Inc.'s Solimo brand is growing by leaps and bounds, positioning the label to compete with established brands in multiple categories about a year after its introduction.
Coffee pods, shaving razors and garbage bags sold under the Solimo brand collectively accounted for $14.5 million in sales on Amazon.com during the fourth quarter of 2018, according to 1010data, a company that provides data to investors. That represents a fourfold increase in sales from two quarters earlier, when the brand's sales totaled $3 million. Solimo items first started appearing on the website in early 2018.
Coffee products, which include Solimo-branded pods for use in Keurig coffee makers, accounted for 46.5% of sales during the fourth quarter. Home Essentials, which includes trash bags and paper goods, contributed 22.5%, while vitamins and supplements represented 10.6%.
In some categories, Solimo is among Amazon's top-selling brands. In January, sales of Solimo products accounted for a 5.2% share of Amazon's sales of kitchen trash bags, making the brand the fourth-highest selling label in the category.
Solimo is still far from rivaling labels at major consumer goods producers such as The Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever PLC. Procter & Gamble's sales of shaving supplies alone were more than one hundred times larger than sales of all Solimo products during the fourth quarter of 2018.
But even in product categories where an established brand dominates, Amazon has an opportunity to capture a chunk of the fast-moving consumer good market, said Andy Mantis, chief business officer at 1010data. Products from The Clorox Co.'s Glad brand, for instance, account for a majority of the market for kitchen trash bags, with brands such as Reynolds Consumer Products LLC's Hefty and Simplehuman LLC taking a much smaller portion.
"Beyond those three, no one has significant share," Mantis said. "Amazon is right in the mix. At their current rate, it seems like they're on that potential trajectory" to becoming one of the major labels.
Other categories, such as bladder control briefs, are more fragmented, with no single brand name accounting for a majority of the market. In those areas, Solimo's share — even if only in the mid-single digits — stands out even more, Mantis said.
Amazon has been growing its selection of private label products in recent years, developing own-brands for consumer goods from earbuds to pet shampoo. As of May 7, the online retailing giant had 140 private brands globally, according to TJI Research.
Fast-moving consumer brands like Solimo do not represent as large a private label business for Amazon as apparel and other categories do, Justin Smith, founder of TJI, said in an interview. But "the product assortment has been increasing rapidly," he said. In recent weeks, tracking by TJI has shown a push by Solimo into food products such as salsa and pink lemonade mix.
Grocery products are one likely area of growth for Solimo — and other Amazon private labels — in the coming years, Smith said. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was planning another grocery chain, distinct from Whole Foods Market Inc., as part of its continuing expansion into food retail.
Healthcare is another realm where Solimo is likely to expand its product selection, Smith said. Already, Amazon sells elbow braces, petroleum jelly and other at-home healthcare items under the label.
For now, having a nascent presence in lots of product categories is a benefit for Amazon, 1010data's Mantis said. The Seattle-based company is likely using Solimo and its other private labels, many of which currently appear to overlap in product selection, as pilots in its private-label strategy.
"This is the perfect platform for Amazon to experiment and A/B test brands that are positioned slightly differently," Mantis said. "It's more about how they move from an early stage to a more mature model."