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CPG eCommerce Intelligence: Why Amazon pulled its Elements diapers

January 20, 2015
Written By

On Wednesday 21st January, Amazon discontinued its prime-only Elements diapers after just six weeks, as reported by both Gigaom and Recode. Citing “design improvements” based on “early customer feedback,” Amazon is offering a $25 promotional credit to now-former subscribers. CPG eCommerce intelligence from Profitero confirms why this was the right decision.

Amazon’s diapers brand was the company’s first entry into the CPG/grocery private label space, with Amazon marketing its diapers as “premium products” with “transparent origins.”

But Amazon Elements diapers struggled with poor customer reviews from the start. Negative reviewers cited Elements diapers’ failure to contain “blowouts”, insufficient absorbency, and strange odor. Some subscribers called the diapers “cheap” and “not great quality.”

According to Profitero’s latest Amazon FastMovers report for the Baby category, Elements diapers had 81 reviews and a star rating of just 3.4—nearly a full point below the top diaper brands. By contrast, top diaper brands within this category on Amazon averaged a star rating of 4.2 with 982 reviews per product.

Furthermore, no Amazon Elements diapers made the top 100 Amazon Best Sellers lists in the diapers category or on Prime Pantry since launching.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Profitero’s Keith Anderson said: “While the private label was Amazon’s first in the CPG/grocery space, private-label and own brands are very common in brick-and-mortar grocery retailing. Although some interpreted Amazon’s launch of its own diapers brand as a threat to national brand manufacturers like P&G and Kimberly Clark, national brand manufacturers and retailers have collaborated strategically in many CPG categories to focus on growing the overall category’s sales.

As the online channel matures, brands will likely have to evolve their approach to category management to adapt to some of the opportunities and challenges of managing online assortments and the digital shelf. The marketing/positioning for Amazon Elements far overreached the product quality – as underlined by our own analysis – and Amazon is smart to course-correct quickly for the long-term viability of future private-label products.”

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About Profitero’s Amazon FastMovers reports

In each country, Amazon updates its 100 best-selling products in each category hourly.

Profitero monitors these best seller lists in the US (more than 4.9 million products) and the UK (more than 2.1 million products) daily and analyzes products’ performance over specific time periods to produce a cumulative ranking of best-selling products. We release these FastMovers reports monthly for the following categories:

  • Baby
  • Beauty
  • Chocolate
  • Electronics
  • Grocery & Gourmet Food
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Office Products
  • Toys & Games
  • Prime Pantry (Amazon US only)
  • Pet Food
  • Watches

Use the Amazon FastMovers reports to:

  • Identify strong-selling new products in your category, including launches from competitors
  • Benchmark high-performing products’ pricing, pack configuration, ratings & reviews, and other attributes
  • Gauge the importance of participating in Amazon programs such as Subscribe & Save and Prime Pantry


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