Amazon has been selling consumer electronics for 20 years. The category launched in 1999, just 4 years after the company’s start as an online bookseller.
In the past 20 years, Amazon has capitalized on the constantly-growing category. The ecommerce giant even offers its own line of consumer electronics.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Amazon Electronics category.
What is the Electronics category on Amazon?
The Electronics category on Amazon is made up of the following subcategories:
- TV & Video
- Audio & Home Theater
- Camera & Photo
- Wearable Technology
- Car Electronics & GPS
- Portable Audio
- Cell Phones
- Office Electronics
- Musical Instruments
- Amazon Devices
Shoppers can buy pretty much any consumer electronics item on Amazon, from leading brands to cheaper alternatives.
Amazon private label electronics brands
Electronics is a category where Amazon’s own brands really shine: Amazon Devices has its own set of subcategories, including Kindle E-readers, Fire Tablets, Fire TV, and Echo & Alexa.
Amazon’s first consumer electronics product was the Kindle e-reader. The Kindle’s launch in 2007 popularized e-readers and changed the way people read books. (Barnes & Noble didn’t introduce the Nook until 2009.) The first Kindle device sold out in 5 hours.
Amazon now offers its own brand of tablets, TV streaming devices, and Alexa-enabled devices. Amazon Echo sales increased over 9 times year-over-year from 2016 to 2017; Alexa-enabled devices were the top-selling products on Amazon during the 2017 holiday season.
According to Euromonitor, Amazon’s devices were the third best-selling electronics in the U.S. in 2018, coming in just behind Apple and Samsung. Kindle and Alexa are household names — Amazon’s Alexa technology has sparked countless memes, parodies, and think pieces.
Amazon offers their name brand electronics at prices that hardly cover the cost to manufacture the items. They know that if their customers buy other Amazon services — like Amazon Prime — they’ll more than recoup the costs.
This helps Amazon stay incredibly competitive as both an ecommerce seller and an electronics manufacturer.
Selling electronics on Amazon
How well you are selling electronics on Amazon depends largely on the product you sell.
If you sell your own brand of electronics — with all the proper patents and certificates in place — Amazon has regulations and processes in place to help you sell more successfully on the platform.
Amazon’s brand registry helps you avoid dealing with third-party sellers who get your products through liquidators or attempt to sell fake versions of your products.
That said, these restrictions go both ways. If you’re a third-party seller, Amazon is beholden to the manufacturers and brands. If the brand whose products you sell asks Amazon to stop allowing third-party sales of their products, Amazon can delete your listings and even ban your account at any time.
As usual, Amazon takes a referral fee from each sale. For consumer electronics, they take 8% of the selling price. For electronics accessories, they take 15% for items under $100 and 8% for items over $100, with a minimum fee of $1.00.
Amazon policies and restrictions
Selling electronics is no joke: 50% of consumer electronic products fail standard certification the first time. The category is heavily regulated, and Amazon has its own set of restrictions.
First and foremost, Amazon prohibits the selling of electronics that enable illegal activities. For example, you can’t sell:
- Digital music players that encourage illegally downloading music
- Cell phone unlocking (aka jailbreaking) devices
- Items that block radio signals, like GPS jammers or cell phone jammers
- DVD players with region coding blocked
Check out a complete list of Amazon’s policies and restrictions in Seller Central.
Long gone are the heydays of Circuit City and RadioShack, both of which suffered at the hands of underpriced online electronics sales.
But the consumer electronics category continues to grow year-over-year — and when it comes to online sales, Amazon is officially leading the pack.
Here’s a timeline of Amazon’s growth as a leader in the category:
- In 2015, Amazon accounted for 90% of all growth in US consumer electronics sales.
- In 2016, Amazon sold $4.7 billion worth of consumer electronics products in the first quarter alone.
- In 2017, consumer electronics sales in the US and Canada added up to $264.17 billion, up 14% from $231.44 billion in 2016. Amazon grew at a higher rate than the market: Its consumer electronics sales grew by more than 18.5% in 2017. (Best Buy, on the other hand, grew sales only 8.5%.)
- In 2018, Amazon officially eclipsed Best Buy as #1 on Dealerscope’s Top 101 Consumer Electronics Retailers list.
Now, we’re nearly halfway through 2019, and the consumer electronics category as a whole continues to grow.
The global consumer electronics market is expected to reach approximately $1,787 billion in 2024, with a 6% growth rate year-over-year. And at the rate Amazon’s going (and growing), they’ll be leading the pack in the US and Canada.
As consumer electronics technology advances — and Alexa becomes more and more ubiquitous — Amazon will no doubt remain ahead of the curve, bother as an ecommerce marketplace and as an electronics brand of its own.
Successful Brands Selling on Amazon: WHOOSH
WHOOSH! is redefining the next generation of clean with tech hygiene products for screens, devices & gadgets including tablets, smartphones, monitors, TV’s, GPS, POS systems, handheld game consoles, kids electronics, and more.
WHOOSH turned to Tinuiti to improve their ecommerce presence & expand their customer reach. In order to do so, they knew they would need to establish Amazon advertising campaigns to increase product discoverability and drive conversions.
Previously, the majority of its revenue was coming from brick and mortar sales.
Thanks to our efforts, Amazon is now a powerful channel to expand WHOOSH’s reach and grow its user base.
Click here to read the entire WHOOSH case study.
For more on selling products in the Amazon electronics category, email [email protected]