Cowen: Amazon Will Be the No. 1 U.S. Clothing Retailer Very Soon

Macy's to lose the top spot by 2017

Inside An Amazon.com Inc. Fulfillment Center

Amazon: A clothing powerhouse?

Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Amazon is seeing a wave of upgrades just days before it reports quarterly earnings.

One of the firms boosting its outlook for the company is Cowen, which on Monday morning made a bold call for the online retailer. 

The team of analysts, led by John Blackledge, sent out a note this morning predicting that Amazon will become the No. 1 U.S. apparel retailer by 2017, "comfortably passing" Macy's within two years. Here are the big numbers behind that call:

We estimate AMZN’s US retail Apparel GMV [gross merchandise value] grows from $16BN in ’15 to $52BN in ’20, with US market share rising from 5% to 14% and comfortably passing Macy’s in ’17.

Keep in mind that, according to Cowen, Amazon's apparel and accessories segment is driving the sales of electronics and general merchandise (EGM), which makes up roughly 70 percent of total revenue. Note that Amazon may have been founded in 1994, but it didn't enter the apparel market until 2002.

The company’s Apparel & Accessories footprint has come a long way since it first began selling Apparel in ’02 and numerous comments suggest Fashion is now the fastest growing vertical within Amazon’s largest revenue source, the EGM segment. Additionally, Amazon Fashion President Cathy Beaudoin disclosed Amazon Fashion has over 40MM customers (as of Feb. ’15).

Blackledge and his team also included findings from a recent survey conducted by the research firm.

It showed that Amazon’s apparel purchasers growth is beating the likes of Wal-Mart and Target; over the past six quarters, this growth has averaged a 29 percent increase year-over-year, compared with 3 percent and 2 percent declines at Wal-Mart and Target, respectively.

The concern for Wal-Mart and Target doesn't end there. The note says that in the first half of 2015, some 11 percent of apparel customers at Target and Wal-Mart bought clothing from Amazon as well, compared with 8 percent in the first half of 2014. 

 
 
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