Prime Day 2018 is now Amazon.com Inc.’s biggest sales event ever, in spite of technical glitches during the opening hours of its fourth-annual summer sales event.
While Amazon (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000 ranking and No. 3 in the Online Marketplaces ranking) didn’t provide specifics on sales or growth, they did say they sold more than 100 million products on Prime Day (July 16-17). Amazon also said marketplace sales “far exceeded” $1 billion. Based on that information and an analysis of Amazon’s top-selling product categories, Internet Retailer’s early estimate pegs sales during the 36-hour event between $4.01 billion and $4.38 billion globally. That would mean sales grew at least 66% year over year, up from an estimated $2.41 billion during last year’s 30-hour sale.
Widespread technical issues on Monday, which ranged from shoppers not being able to add products to their carts or checkout on the site and app, dominated headlines at the start of the event. Site monitoring service Down Detector says Amazon’s biggest problems occurred during the first 63 minutes of the sale and the biggest issues were in the United States (as opposed to Amazon’s country-specific sites), so sales lost were likely limited to roughly $70 million, according to Internet Retailer estimates. And because the sale was 36 hours long, it’s possible consumers who experienced technical issues returned later in the evening or the next day to complete their purchase.
“The Amazon customer is extremely loyal and wouldn’t have decided to not buy or buy elsewhere due to the technical issues they experienced,” says Kelly Ennis, director of marketplace strategy and analytics at Jam Paper & Envelope, an online retailer and marketplace seller. “I think most customers waited out the issues and eventually purchased their items as intended.”
Pricing software vendor Feedvisor says sales decreased 2% during the second hour of this year’s Prime Day compared with the second hour of the 2017 event. However, sales were up 89% during the first 12 hours compared with the first 12 hours of Prime Day 2017, according to Feedvisor. Feedvisor analyzes sales data of its more than 1,000 retail clients that sell on Amazon.
Sales of Feedvisor’s clients during the full 36 hours were up just 24% compared with a year ago. But Internet Retailer estimates marketplace sellers’ sales only account for about a third of total Prime Day sales. That’s because Amazon typically uses this sales event to promote its own products. For instance, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot were the retailer’s best sellers worldwide.