Amazon’s total sales on Amazon Prime Day, 2015–2021
Amazon.com Inc.’s seventh-annual Prime Day marked yet another banner period for the web giant, with a 7.7% jump in sales over the same retail event in 2020, a Digital Commerce 360 analysis shows. But the modest year-over-year growth was a notable deceleration compared with previous Prime Days, which grew nearly six times the 2021 growth rate or even faster.
Globally, Amazon’s sales reached $11.19 billion over the two-day period spanning June 21-22, up from $10.39 billion during the 48-hour event in 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. Last year, the sale was postponed from its usual summertime slot to mid-October because of the pandemic.
Prime members worldwide purchased more than 250 million items during Prime Day 2021, according to Amazon, which is ranked No. 1 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. The company reports best-selling categories globally included electronics like the iRobot Roomba 692 robot vacuum; Amazon devices like the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa voice remote, which was the most popular product during the sale; tools; beauty products like teeth-whitening aids; nutrition; baby care; and back-to-school items like backpacks, laptops, headphones, notebooks, calculators and Crayola products.
Marketplace sales vs. Amazon’s own product sales
For the second consecutive Prime Day event, third-party marketplace sellers grew sales at a higher rate than Amazon-owned products sold through the company’s retail division, according to the web giant. Sales of marketplace items increased 12.0% year over year versus 5.3% for Amazon devices, private-label goods and products the company buys from manufacturers to sell itself, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. During Prime Day 2020, Amazon says marketplace sellers reached a record of more than $3.5 billion worth of goods sold, up nearly 60% year over year, which marked a bigger uptick than the growth in Amazon’s first-party sales. The company didn’t provide similar guidance this year.
Prior to 2020, Amazon’s marketplace sales as a share of total Prime Day sales had been declining year over year, according to Digital Commerce 360’s analysis. While third-party sellers represent more than 60% of gross merchandise sales through Amazon annually, the breakdown shifts significantly during Prime Day, as Amazon heavily promotes its own products, and its devices often top the list of bestsellers each year. Marketplace sellers have accounted for roughly a third of Prime Day sales for years, Digital Commerce 360 estimates.
Last year, as Amazon began investing more in spotlighting small- and mid-sized businesses selling on its platform while consumer interest in supporting the little guys surged during the pandemic, marketplace sales’ share inched up during Prime Day—to 35% from 32% in 2019, according to Digital Commerce 360. The trend line continued in 2021, with marketplace sales gaining share and reaching 36% of gross merchandise sales for the event.
Most consumers spent $100+ on Amazon during sales event
More than half of consumers—54%—spent more than $100 on Amazon during Prime Day and a quarter spent more than $250, according to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 505 online shoppers on June 23. The Digital Commerce 360-estimated average ticket for Amazon.com in 2020 was $48, although consumers may have placed multiple orders during the two-day sales event. 36% of survey respondents said they spent more on Amazon during Prime Day 2021 than the prior year.
Additionally, nearly half of consumers—45%—reported they purchased two or three items on Amazon during Prime Day while 15% bought six or more, according to the survey.
Other retailers join in on Prime Day
With a well-documented sales bump, or Prime Day’s “halo effect,” for other retailers, merchants have increasingly run counter sales to capitalize on the added traffic from online shoppers during the Amazon-manufactured holiday. Walmart Inc. (No. 2) launched a four-day “Deals for Days” promotion on June 20, and Target Corp. (No. 6) held its three-day “Deal Days” around the same time.
Digital Commerce 360 researchers analyzed the ecommerce sites of the top 250 North American retailers ranked in the Top 1000 to see which merchants were offering a sale directly competing with Amazon Prime Day in hopes of siphoning off some of the deal seekers. On June 21, 50.8% of retailers in that cohort offered a widespread sales event online that extended beyond normal promotions that are run year-round. That was up from the prior week, when Digital Commerce 360 found that 44.8% of retailers had a large promotion on June 14, or the Monday before Prime Day kicked off. The widespread sales during the control week were mostly related to Father’s Day, graduation or other general seasons. The median discount for the top 250 retailers on June 21 during Prime Day was 50% off, up from 40% off on June 14, according to Digital Commerce 360.
Consumers also reported taking advantage of those competing sales, according to the Digital Commerce 360 post-Prime Day June survey. More than half—56%—of consumers said they placed an order on Amazon during Prime Day, but 17% also reported comparison shopping between multiple online retailers. Interestingly, nearly one in five respondents—18%—said they made a purchase from Walmart during the same period, and 13% said they bought from Target. Both of the mass merchants have tracked Amazon’s annual event, adjusting their own promotional calendars accordingly to fight for consumers’ dollars.
Consumers had mixed feelings about Prime Day event
While 29% of consumers said Prime Day met their expectations, 25% said they were disappointed with the offerings this year, according to the post-Prime Day survey. 11% of shoppers still encountered out-of-stock products—a signal that retailers are still plagued by inventory challenges more than halfway into 2021—and one in 10 bought products that they perhaps didn’t have an immediate need for, just on the off chance that they’d be out of stock later.