Retailers may be moving the holiday shopping season to October, with Amazon.com Inc. leading the way. Big Deal Days, where the online retailer offers discounts for Amazon Prime members, spawned many competing promotions this year as retailers take a stab at an earlier start to the biggest shopping season of the year.
In Digital Commerce 360’s panel of 100 online retailers from the 2023 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, where Amazon is No. 1, 82.0% offered promotions of some kind on Oct. 10, the first day of Amazon’s Big Deal Days. That’s up from 72.0% during a control period two weeks prior. That’s also above the 75.0% of retailers running competing promotions on Amazon Prime Day, the summer shopping holiday that’s now nearly a decade old.
This is only the second year for Amazon’s fall holiday event, though Amazon Prime Day was pushed back to this time period in 2020. Last year, during an “Early Access” promotion, the same panel wasn’t so eager to compete with Amazon for a whole new shopping holiday — while 80.0% offered promotions last year, discounts were smaller with the median retailer offering up to 40% off compared to 50% this year.
Amazon is also No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces Database. It ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by 2023 third-party GMV.
Big competition on Big Deal Days
While retailers were likely to offer site-wide sales to compete with Big Deal Days, few were willing to play into Amazon’s naming scheme. Of those offering promotions, 14.6% nodded to Prime Big Deal Days. Designer Brands (No. 77) promoted “40% off big-deal brands” on the DSW site, while Kohl’s Corp. (No. 23) called its sale the Deal Dash.
Walmart, which sat out both Prime Days and Early Access Days in 2022, returned to compete during Prime Days this year. The mass merchant heavily promoted during Big Deal Days as well. A popup appeared on its homepage promoting the membership program Walmart+, along with plenty of nods to the savings it grants. The difference was that most of Walmart’s deals weren’t locked behind its paid membership, in contrast with Amazon.
Target ran deals during the week prior to Amazon’s shopping holiday. Circle Week matched its Prime Days strategy, but offsetting its sale was a new twist. Walmart attempted a sale before Prime Days last year but didn’t garner any similar sales from other retailers. Similarly, it doesn’t seem many retailers offered off-peak sales and instead hoped to ride in Amazon’s wake to capture consumers in the spending mindset.
The new start of the holiday season?
While Amazon ditched the idea that this shopping holiday is explicitly for early holiday shopping, many retailers used the manufactured holiday to kick off their Christmastime sales. 18.9% of retailers offering promotions tied it to Christmas, Black Friday or the holidays more generally. That’s up from 3.2% two weeks ago mentioning winter events. Despite Halloween right around the corner, just 5.4% of promotional retailers mentioned the spookiest holiday on their homepages.
Percentage off discounts reigned supreme, as they usually do, with 64.9% of promotional retailers offering a discount of a certain percent. 27.0% offered dollar-based discounts, while 14.9% offered free shipping promotions. Nearly half of promotional retailers offered more than one type of promotion on the homepage.
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