Amazon is infamous for copying hot product designs and selling cheaper versions under its own private labels.
The company’s private label biz is on track to hit $31B by 2022, up 98% year over year from its $2B earnings last year.
Allbirds, the $1.4B company behind Silicon Valley’s favorite lace-ups, is Amazon’s latest victim. Last week, Amazon released the Galen Wool Blend Sneakers under its private label 206 Collective, and they bear a not-so-sneaky resemblance to Allbird’s Wool Runners.
Where they lack resemblance is in price: Amazon’s copycats are $45. Allbirds sell for $95.
But Allbirds isn’t exactly flipping Amazon the bird…
Other brands have snagged Allbirds’ shoe designs in the past; the company has tried to litigate, with little success. Allbirds’ co-founder and co-CEO, Joey Zwillinger, says he’s more bothered by the sustainability implications of the Amazon-bird than the design ripoff.
“Given what I know about manufacturing, there is no way you can sell a shoe for that low while taking care of all of the environmental and animal welfare considerations and compliance we take into account,” he said.
Amazon has also been accused of juicing its own products
Brands selling knockoff products is nothing new. Retailers have been doing this for a long time, and it’s (generally) totally legal.
One-third of US retail dollars spent online go to Amazon, and the company now sells over 10k products under its own brands.
Some companies have reported selling their products on Amazon for years, only to see sales plummet after Amazon swipes their design and puts out similar, significantly cheaper products.
Recently, Amazon has also come under fire for allegedly skewing its product search algorithm to favor products that are more profitable for the company, including private label items, following a Wall Street Journal report. Spokespeople from Amazon, however, deny this claim.