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Big Brands vs. Generic Brands on Amazon: Do Brand Names Matter?

You’ve been selling on Amazon for a while now, you’re doing well with the small niche you’ve carved and want to branch out. That leads you to a few questions, including, “How important is the brand to selling on Amazon?” As with most questions of this sort the answer is frustrating, “It depends,” so how about we break down what exactly it depends on so you can figure out how much stock you should put into building your specific brand.

Amazon Searches

It is true that only 22% of the top 100,000 searches on Amazon include a brand name and that’s definitely a good sign for generic products or products from a fresh brand. Things get a little more concerning when you look at the top 10,000 or the top 1,000. When it comes to these very top positions, 74% of the top 10,000 searched keywords include a brand name, and 68% of the top 1,000 include a brand name. The aforementioned statistics obviously don’t mean you should just not try to build a new brand. Even when you get significantly lower on the search charts to, say, 1,000 searches every month. That is still 1,000 potential customers every month searching for something like a spatula (the actual number searching for spatulas is much higher than 1,000 per month.) You can absolutely build a brand that lives in these niches. Get yourself highly placed under keyword searches for spatulas, or baking pans, or whisks, or whatever else and suddenly you can start becoming a brand that people have bought baking supplies from before, so they buy more from you instead of a potential competitor after seeing your brand name. There is absolutely value in having a brand name, even if you’re not the big brand in one of those top 10,000 searches.

Who is selling on Amazon?

Most of the big brands in all sorts of fields are selling on Amazon. It would almost be absurd not to be. There are, however, some pretty significant exceptions. Nike, for example, doesn’t sell directly on Amazon. You can buy some Nike branded stuff there, but none of it is directly from Nike, it is all through third party sources. Another major exception is the lack of fashion companies selling on Amazon. For a major fashion brand it is not in their best interests to sell on Amazon because they’re going up against much cheaper versions of their products. Admittedly, these other versions won’t be the quality of the big name brands, and they certainly won’t carry the name. Much like with Nikes, you can buy Gucci sunglasses or whatever on Amazon, but again, these are all sold through third parties. Brands like Gucci would much rather get you into their boutiques so they can convince you to buy more things. Buying on Amazon usually comes with knowing what it is you actually want, so it is much harder to upsell.

The Tech/Media Problem

Another issue with the statistics above is that, in the top 100 Amazon keyword searches, 51 of those searches are for electronics, and another nine percent are for specific media, i.e. Game of Thrones and The Boys as the top two media searches. These highly searched keywords skew these statistics quite a bit. The media searches are obviously going to be for specific things instead of just searching for “tv show” or “movie.” Nobody is searching for such generic things for entertainment. The same also holds true for a lot of electronics. People want brand names they know and trust for the majority of their electronic purchases. If someone is searching for headphones they’ll be more likely to buy Beats or something from Sennheiser than they will be to buy a brand they’ve never heard of. With these two specific categories taking up 60% of the top 100 searched keywords that leaves a lot of space in highly searched keywords that aren’t necessarily so specific. People are significantly less likely to care about the brand name for something like kitchenware. That’s where you come in with your new brand. Create a spatula that someone has no complaints about, and they’ll be more likely to buy a set of forks from you.


It is true that it can be incredibly difficult to compete with the major brands on Amazon. Even though Nike isn’t selling directly on Amazon, Adidas and ASICS certainly are, so it would certainly be difficult to get into the running shoe game. There are, however, countless areas where such things don’t apply at all. Earlier I mentioned kitchenware as somewhere that doesn’t really have a huge brand, or even a number of huge brands, that completely dominate everything, making it a place that is reasonable to get into when trying to start a new brand. It’s obviously up to you to find the spots where you can fill a need, but once you find them you should definitely be looking into building your brand so you are able to branch out.

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