Updated from Jan. 15.
Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report appears to have ambitions to upend the clothing industry and retailers from Gap (GPS) - Get Gap, Inc. (GPS) Report to Lululemon Atheltica (LULU) - Get Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU) Report should be on guard.
Having mixed success in luring top fashion apparel brands such as Calvin Klein and Levi Strauss to sell on its site, Amazon has taken matters into its own hands. Last year, the company opened photo studios in New York and London, and has begun selling a host of private label apparel brands. It also launched a free daily show dedicated to fashion.
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Edward Yruma believes that Amazon has made apparel a strategic focus.
"Growing consumer acceptance of apparel via e-commerce as well as the high-value/low-volume characteristics, make this an attractive product category. We think that apparel may serve as one of the single biggest incremental growth opportunities within the retail business," he wrote in a recent note.
In December, Amazon announced the launch of "Buttoned Down," a line of men's dress shirts. The launch of this private-label brand is significant for two reasons, Yruma said. First, the offering is a Prime-only exclusive.
"We think that the attractive pricing of the men's dress shirts (non-iron, $39-$49) may serve as a compelling incentive for a Prime membership. Second, we think the launch shows that Amazon is interested in using private label to fill in areas of apparel that lack strong, national, wholesale-focused brands," he added.
Based on several recent job postings on Amazon's site, the e-commerce giant is also planning to develop its own line of workout apparel.
But analysts don't think athletic apparel giants such as Nike (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. (NKE) Report , Under Armour (UA) - Get Under Armour, Inc. Class C Report and Lululemon should be too concerned about Amazon entering the space.
"Just because Amazon sells something, it doesn't mean they'll blow the competition out of the water," said Simeon Siegel, executive director and retail analyst at Instinet.
There are clear winners in the athletic apparel space and they win because of their product, strong brand loyalty, who's sponsoring them and what they stand for, Siegel said. While a workout clothing line from Amazon is "not a good thing," he does not think athletic behemoths such as Nike and Under Armour should be "quivering" because the e-commerce giant is entering the space.
Bridget Weishaar, senior equity analyst at Morningstar, also does not believe an Amazon athletic apparel line would have a big effect on sportswear giants right away.
"I don't think it's going to have much of an impact especially in the near term," Weishaar said, "Especially with Lululelmon, it's more than just the apparel itself."
Lululemon hosts yoga classes in its stores and the company is more of a "culture and lifestyle," Weishaar explained. The retailer has brand loyalty, ambassadors who wear the products and has a feeling of community, which is "much harder to break."
Because Amazon is not a brick-and-mortar retailer, it also doesn't have the background of trust in the quality, she added. "You can't walk into the store to touch the product," she said, so convincing a customer to purchase an item may be more difficult.