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Amazon Helped Make This One of the Fastest-Growing E-Commerce Categories Last Year

Online sales of laundry detergent are dominated by Tide.Online sales of laundry detergent are dominated by Tide.
Online sales of laundry detergent are dominated by Tide.Photo by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumer packaged goods—everything from laundry detergent to snack bars and pet food—have long been a dark spot in the e-commerce world.

That might be changing. Recent figures released by 1010data found that sales of consumer packaged goods (CPG) grew 42% in 2015, outpacing the growth of total e-commerce’s 30% increase.

The data research company, which anonymously tracks online shoppers with their permission, found that much of the growth was fueled by Amazon’s (AMZN) Subscribe and Save—a feature that automatically sends out products to customers at a designated frequency. More than 20% of all growth came from Amazon’s Subscribe and Save, which grew by more than 200% year over year, according to 1010data.

Laundry detergent was the fastest growing CPG category across e-commerce measured by 1010data in 2015.

And here’s the breakdown for toothpaste, the No. 2 growth leader in CPG. Note that Colgate Palmolive owns both the Colgate and Tom’s of Maine brands. Taken together, Colgate Palmolive leads in share over Crest, according to 1010data.

The biggest category within CPG is pet food, which grew 55% in 2015 to $760 million in U.S. e-commerce sales. Facial moisturizers came in second with $450 million in e-commerce sales (up 25% over 2014), and fragrances third with $330 million in revenue (11% higher than 2014).

The fastest-growing brand among those with more than $5 million in annual sales was Amazon’s own line, Amazon Elements, which sells things like baby wipes. Bai energy drinks took second place.

Some 40 CPG brands that brought in more than $20 million in annual e-commerce sales in 2015 were measured by 1010data. The fastest-growing was Dove, but four of the top 10 were pet food (Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Purina, Nature’s Variety, and Taste of the Wild).

The growth figures are impressive, but CPG e-commerce is starting from a low base, according to 1010data. Less than 10% of total sales for CPG and frequently less than 5% for some of the biggest companies like Procter & Gamble (PG), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Unilever, Mondelez (MDLZ), Coca-Cola (KO), and Pepsi (PEP). But most of their sales growth in the U.S. is coming from e-commerce in many categories, 1010data said.

*Note that the percentage share numbers provided by 1010data may differ from those released by the individual companies; 1010data’s figures include sales from Amazon Marketplace, which aren’t made available to the brands.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that laundry detergent was not only the fastest growing CPG category but the fastest growing across all e-commerce. It was the fastest growing CPG category measured by 1010data in 2015 but not across all of e-commerce. The error was in the original report provided by 1010data and was subsequently clarified by the company.