Here's What an Amazon Microwave Means for AmazonBasics
Amazon has created a new Alexa-powered microwave for AmazonBasics, grooming the house brand to be one of the most potent in the market.
The microwave is nothing stellar, but we already knew that. AmazonBasics is the brand to choose when affordability is the motive and quality is the gamble. That being said, the brand has actually provided some really rock solid items since it's 2009 inception and made an absolute killing with their competitive price points. The generic branded matches popular items such as laptop sleeves, batteries, Bluetooth speakers, and everything in between.
Today, Amazon boasts over 1,500 products under the simple goal of being "a collection of consumer electronics 'basics.'" And the idea seems to be working as Amazon has begun offering nearly a dozen more house brands beyond AmazonBasics including cosmetics, baby products, and frozen foods among other odds and ends.
So where does the microwave fit in? Well, it fills two roles. On a simple level, it fills a void. The microwave has been in serious decline over the past 15 or so years, with recent data suggesting that Unit sales have tumbled by 40% since it's 2004 peak. By that same token, 90% of American households own a microwave. It's a broad market penetration that is more likely a case of 'Why buy a new one?' not 'The end is 'nigh' even if it's counterpart, the toaster oven, is growing 8% YoY.
Putting together all those pieces, it's clear that American's are typically owning a microwave or about to buy a new one. So what better way to corner a market by pricing one of the most commonly used kitchen items at an untouchable $59 while stuffing an Amazon Alexa into it?
Which segues nicely into the second reason, the digital assistant presence. Doing more than just putting a speaker in the microwave, Alexa can cook items by their food name. "Cook one potato" or "heat up my popcorn" will send the microwave automatically deciding how long an item should cook for.
It's also a trojan horse for more Alexa products. Think about a 'smart' kitchen that can cook, heat, defrost, boil, and bake all by voice command. Yes, many companies are far and ahead in creating this technology, but none of them are selling it in a $60 microwave. We even saw wide-spread Alexa adoption in most of these high-end kitchen products, but many of them point to education (or the lack thereof) for why their smart appliances are facing sluggish sales. It could also be the three extra zero's at the end of the products, but that is neither here nor there.
So what does Amazon's otherwise unassuming, Alexa-powered microwave mean for AmazonBasics? It means that no market is safe, even the ones Amazon is investing in.