Amazon.com Inc. and its marketplace sellers lowered prices on thousands of products as part of Prime Day on Tuesday, and both Prime customers and prospective Prime members thought the deals were “OK” or “pretty good.”
Non-Prime shoppers were more impressed with the Prime Day deals they encountered than Prime customers, according to the results of an Internet Retailers survey of 203 U.S. online shoppers fielded in the 24 hours after Prime Day. 60% of consumers who are not members of Amazon Prime but visited Amazon on July 12 said the deals they found were “pretty good,” and 20% characterized them as “OK.”
Prime members were less impressed with what they found: 30% said “pretty good” and 42% said “OK.” Despite the prevailing opinions, 52% of Prime members in the United States who visited Amazon on Tuesday bought something, the survey found, whereas 28% of non-Prime members who visited made a purchase.
Of the Prime members who made a purchase on Amazon on Prime Day, 27% say they believe they paid 11-20% less than they normally would, and 24% believe they paid 31-40% less. Those discount ranges were the top two answers selected. Of the Prime members who visited but did not buy, 34% say they did not buy because prices were not low enough.
Discounts on featured products varied, with the percentage-off discounts displayed on listings in the single digits to high double digits. However at times the discount displayed to Prime members appeared to overstate the savings. For example, Amazon offered a leather-bound set of “A Game of Thrones” books as a Prime Day deal to Prime members for $24.99, and the listing stated this was 67% off. Looking more closely, the displayed discount percentage was off the $75 list price shown for that product. The regular selling price—the price a non-Prime member would pay for it—was $42.88. Comparing the Prime and non-Prime price, the savings was about 42% for Prime members. The deal sold out.
A price and selection analysis of 120 products featured as Prime Day deals shows other online retailers did not come close to matching Amazon’s pricing on those products. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.
Market research firm Market Track took a pricing snapshot at 10 a.m. Central and scanned the prices and availability offered online by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4), Target Corp. (No. 22), Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 12) and Toys R Us Inc. (No. 35). Walmart.com had 52% of the comparable SKUs in stock, and the average listing price of those products was 33% higher than the Amazon average listing price. Target.com had 29% of the comparable SKUs in stock and the average listing price was 31% higher. BestBuy.com had 24% of the SKUs and an average listing price 32% higher. ToysRUs.com had 21% of the SKUs and was priced 31% higher. Market Track used the prices displayed on the merchants’ product pages for all comparisons.
Amazon priced many of its own gadgets at the same or lower prices than it featured during the opening period of the holiday shopping season last year. The Amazon Fire TV Stick, which the e-retailer says was its best-selling device on Prime Day but doesn’t say how many it sold, was priced for Prime members at $24.99 Tuesday. The regular price is $39.99. From Nov. 20 to Black Friday (Nov. 27, 2015) Amazon sold the stick for $24.99 to all shoppers. Amazon went a little deeper with the price on its Fire TV streaming device. On Tuesday it was $30 off versus $25 off last November. The Amazon Echo—regularly $179—was $129.99 on Prime Day versus $149 on Nov. 30 (Cyber Monday).
Interestingly, Amazon essentially paid consumers to buy Dash buttons—the WiFi-connected plastic buttons that offer Prime members a screenless way to order selected goods from Amazon. On Monday and Tuesday the buttons, which normally are $4.99 each, cost 99 cents each. When consumers place their first order using the button, Amazon credits their account the $4.99 purchase price. Amazon maintained that credit for the buttons purchased on Monday and Tuesday, which means consumers who use them to buy will make $4 per button. A check of Amazon today shows that 40 of 163 branded Dash buttons Amazon has released to date are now sold out and listed as unavailable for purchase. Amazon says the most popular Dash buttons bought on Prime Day were for Cascade dishwashing detergent, Charmin toilet paper and Tide laundry detergent. All three are currently unavailable.