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How competitive is Amazon Pantry’s Health & Beauty offering?

By Chris Elliott

In January 2016, Amazon announced that it would be creating 2,500 jobs in the UK, increasing its total number of UK employees by 22 percent to 14,000. The new roles are to be spread across the business, including the new Amazon Web Services data centres and at its head office in London.

New jobs will also be created in the planned expansion of the retailer’s Pantry service. In December 2015, the Managing Director of Amazon UK, Christopher North, announced that “in the New Year we are going to be adding a lot more products” to the Pantry service.

Amazon Pantry’s expansion may prove to be another disruptive challenge to the UK’s dominant supermarket players, after reports of falling sales last year and following increased competition from the discounters.

Amazon Pantry Health & Beauty pricing

Following our previous Insight regarding Amazon Pantry’s product offering, Brand View has analysed eight Amazon Pantry Baby Care and Health & Beauty categories:

  • Bath & Body
  • Dental Care
  • Hair Care
  • Intimate Hygiene
  • Make-up
  • Nappies
  • Skin Care
  • Wipes & Accessories (Under the Health & Baby Care banner)

We have reviewed the shelf pricing of Amazon Pantry, compared with commonly listed lines in Asda, Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug, Tesco and Wilko.

Amazon was cheapest across a basket of commonly listed items. Its closest competitor was Wilko which was 10.9 percent more expensive across the basket. The next closest competitor was Sainsbury’s – it was 12.1 percent more expensive than Amazon on the comparable goods.

The greatest price difference was between Amazon and Boots – the former was 26.9 percent cheaper. The greatest price differences between the two retailers was on electric toothbrushes. For example, on 29 January 2016, the Colgate ProClinical C600 Electric Toothbrush was available for £40 from Amazon, but £99.99 from Boots, as well as Lloyds Pharmacy and Superdrug.

However, on 3 February, Boots dropped the price of the product to £49.99, while Lloyds Pharmacy and Superdrug continued to charge £99.99 (as per 8 February).

health & beauty basket price amazon pantry
*Comparative pricing for the commonly listed items in the eight categories analysed

Hair Care

Lloyds Pharmacy was the most competitive retailer for the Hair Care category – Amazon Pantry was only 2.3 percent cheaper. Boots performed worst in comparison for this category as Amazon Pantry was 17.5 percent cheaper on a basket of commonly listed products.

Of the categories analysed, Wilko was the most competitively priced for the Hair Care category – Amazon Pantry was just 3.2 percent cheaper.

When reviewing the shelf pricing of a sample of ten products in the Hair Care category, we can see that Wilko was the sole cheapest retailer on four of the ten products. However, it was almost twice as expensive as Amazon Pantry for the Garnier Ultimate Blends Colour Illuminator Shampoo 400ml and more than double the price for the TRESemmé Moisture Rich shampoo 500ml.

The data highlights why Boots was the least competitively priced in this category, as it was the sole or joint most expensive retailer for six of the ten products.

haircare pricing amazon pantry
Brand View Daily Price and Promotions 29 January 2016


Wilko was the least competitively priced for the Nappies category – Amazon Pantry was 42.8 percent cheaper on a basket of comparable goods. Wilko was not the sole most expensive retailer for any of the eight products chosen at random. However, its shelf price was double that of Amazon Pantry on the Huggies Pull Ups Night Time Boys (Medium) 12 Pack and more than double on the Huggies Little Swimmers Swim Pants Size 5-6 11 Pack.

Amazon Pantry was sole or joint cheapest retailer on five of the eight sample products, ahead of Tesco which was cheapest for three products. Tesco was the most competitively priced retailer in the category when compared to Amazon, which was just 4.5 percent cheaper on comparable products.

Nappy pricing amazon pantry
Brand View Daily Price and Promotions 29 January 2016

Amazon Pantry Product Representation

Brand View analysis highlighted numerous compliance issues with listings on Amazon Pantry in a previous grocery focused Insight and product content in the Health & Beauty categories had similar issues.

The most significant issue was the misspelling of the brand name L’Oréal on its listing of the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème, Natural Dark Blonde.

l'oreal incorrect product listing amazon pantry
Amazon Pantry website 8 February 2016

At the time of analysis several other brands were badly represented on the Amazon Pantry site, including poor representation of listings of Right Guard, VO5 and Colgate products.

The expansion of Amazon Pantry in 2016 is likely to add additional challenges to the major supermarkets following a difficult 2015. The etailer’s competitive Pantry offering across not only Food and Drink, but also Baby Care and Health & Beauty, could draw in shoppers from the major supermarkets, as well as Health & Beauty retailers, such as Boots and Superdrug.

However, if Amazon continues to poorly represent products, the etailer could face challenges of its own in converting shoppers currently faithful to the major supermarkets and Health & Beauty stores.

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