Amazon.com Inc. didn’t force many retailers to jump into promotion mode during its big annual sales event. Among a panel of 100 online retailers from the 2023 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, more retailers offered 4th of July promotions at the end of June than offered site-wide sales to compete with Amazon’s Prime Days on Tuesday.
Amazon, which is the top retailer in the Top 1000, started its member-only summer shopping holiday back in 2015, and many retailers over the years have joined the ecommerce bonanza by offering their own sales — with many returning again this year. Target Corp. (No. 5) has offered similar deals in years past, often touting that subscriptions and memberships weren’t required.
Notably, Walmart Inc. (No. 2) sat out last year, but it has returned to sales this year with Walmart+ Week, offering paid members early access to deals that are then released to the public later.
However, most of the retailers in Digital Commerce 360’s panel that are offering promotions on Prime Day also offered promotions two weeks ago. Of the 100 retailers, 75 ran promotions during Prime Day and 75 were running them during the control period. Seven retailers that previously had no sales added promotions for Prime Days. Similarly, seven turned off sales on Prime Days. Neither set tied promotions to holidays.
Amazon is No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s new 2023 Global Online Marketplaces Report, which ranks the 100 largest global marketplaces by 2022 third-party GMV.
Prime time promotions
Of retailers running promotions in our panel, 29.3% offered large site-wide promos to compete with Amazon. Last year, 36.7% of the same panel offered competing promotions. For example, The Gap Inc. (No. 20 in the Top 1000) decided not to offer competing sales this year, unlike last year’s “Gap Days,” but it did offer back-to-school promos. On the other hand, Joann Inc. (No. 307) returned with its “Primo Days” promotion.
Still, Prime Days isn’t as big as other holidays. The control period was the Wednesday of the week prior to the 4th of July holiday (June 28), and 33.8% of retailers with promotions mentioned that holiday.
While only a handful of retailers referred to Prime Days, some joined the shopping holiday with a “Black Friday in July” framing. Macy’s has been running with that “holiday” line since last week. It’s among 6.8% of retailers in the panel that mentioned the traditionally November shopping period in their July promotions. Other retailers promoted back-to-school shopping as well.
Despite many retailers letting Prime Days pass by, Amazon’s biggest competitors didn’t hold back. Walmart pushed its paid membership program, Walmart+, with a 50% off deal for those signing up for the full year. Deals were exclusively for members from Monday through noon on Tuesday, much like Amazon offers its sales for Prime members during its sale days. Target also offered week-long deals with “Circle Week” and again pushed that its deals don’t require a membership fee.
Of retailers offering promotions, more than 20% touted free shipping among the deals shoppers could score. That’s up from just 11.8% during the control period, but under the 25.3% offering it last year. The most popular discount type was a percentage-based discount, but gifts with a purchase increased during Prime Day compared to the control — 4.1% offered something with a purchase.
The percentage-off promotions weren’t any different from last year or the control period. 50% off was the largest promotion for the median retailer for all three periods. 88% off was the maximum discount among the panel this year. That’s down slightly from 90% last year but above 80% during the control.
Outside of the panel, some manufacturers pushed people to Amazon during the peak shopping holiday, cashing in on the hype Amazon has built for the day. Confectioner Mars sent an email noting “Prime time deals” on M&Ms exclusively available on Amazon. Liquid IV also pushed its 30% discount on Amazon to its email list. Others pushed shoppers to manufacturers’ sites while cashing in on “Prime” power, like Fannie May’s “Prime time to buy chocolate” send.
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