Consumers worldwide spent more than $12 billion with Amazon.com Inc. during the retail giant’s eighth-annual Prime Day, according to an early Digital Commerce 360 analysis. This year’s two-day sale marked yet another record-breaking event, and although year-over-year growth was modest when compared with the performance of most historical Prime Days, it was a small uptick over 2021.
How much did Amazon make on Prime Day?
Digital Commerce 360 estimates Amazon’s sales on Prime Day hit $12.09 billion globally during the manufactured retail holiday, which spanned July 12 and 13. That’s up 8.1% year over year from the same shopping spree in 2021, which ran from June 21 through 22. In 2021, Prime Day sales reached $11.19 billion and represented a 7.7% increase over Amazon’s 2020 event.
Prime Day 2021 fell less than a year after the 2020 sales event, which contributed to the slowdown in growth from 45.1% earlier in the pandemic. Amazon postponed Prime Day 2020, pushing it from its usual summer time slot to mid-October because of the coronavirus. The pandemic impacted retailers’ supply chains and inventory, shifted consumers’ shopping priorities and led more shoppers to Amazon.com to purchase essential items.
This year, shoppers purchased more than 300 million items worldwide during the 2022 event, up from 250 million last year, Amazon says.
What is Amazon Prime Day?
Amazon, No. 1 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, launched Prime Day in July 2015 to celebrate the web behemoth’s 20th year in business, offering deals on a bunch of products to mark the occasion. As the event evolved, Prime Day turned into a highly anticipated summer sale designed to drum up more business for Amazon — and the retailer’s marketplace sellers — before the holiday shopping season. In recent years, other large retailers have offered promotions on their own websites around Prime Day to take advantage of the additional online shopping traffic from deal-seeking consumers.
The inaugural Prime Day lasted for 24 hours and encompassed nine countries including the U.S. In 2017, the sale was extended for 30 hours and expanded to a few more markets, and in 2018, Prime Day was a 36-hour event. By 2019, Amazon began running its current two-day sale spanning 18 countries. And this year, there were more than 20 markets participating.
With discounts available only to paying members, Prime Day also is a vehicle for Amazon to sign up more consumers for its popular loyalty plan. The $139-a-year or $14.99-a-month Prime membership program offers perks like free one- or two-day shipping, digital photo storage, and video and music streaming.
Amazon reported it has more than 200 million Prime members worldwide in its annual shareholders letter, published in April. That’s up from 150 million global Prime members in January 2020 and 100 million in April 2018. However, the company doesn’t break out U.S. memberships. Market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners LLC, or CIRP, estimates there were 172 million Prime members in the U.S. at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 142 million a year earlier. CIRP’s membership estimates are based on quarterly surveys of 500 consumers.
This year, Amazon launched a “Prime Stampcard” game to motivate existing members to explore — and hopefully get hooked on — more of their Prime benefits. Members had to complete the following activities to earn each of the four required stamps: make a Prime shipping-eligible purchase, stream Prime Video, listen to Prime Music, and access a Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited book. If Prime members won all necessary stamps from June 16 through Prime Day, they received a $10 credit to be used anytime on Amazon. The Prime program already has notoriously high retention rates, but with fees recently having gone up, Amazon likely wanted to remind members of all of the perks that come with that price tag.
Amazon Marketplace Sellers on Prime Day
Historically, Prime Day has been a chance for Amazon to heavily promote its own products, like its Alexa-enabled devices. Those gadgets usually make the retailer’s list of Prime Day bestsellers each year. But for the past few years, Amazon has invested more heavily in spotlighting marketplace sellers in their deals. And it’s paying off for third-party merchants participating in the sale.
Sales of marketplace products grew 11.7% year over year, up from 10.4% during Prime Day 2021, according to early Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That’s also significantly higher than the 6.1% increase in 2022 of Amazon’s own products, which include its private-label goods.
“This year was the biggest Prime Day event for Amazon’s selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized businesses, whose sales growth in Amazon’s store outpaced Amazon’s retail business,” Amazon said in a press release.
Marketplace sales as a share of total Prime Day spending through Amazon had been on the decline before 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates, as much of the sale’s marketing was increasingly centered around Amazon devices. But that trend reversed in 2020. For the past several years, a Digital Commerce 360 analysis shows the share of marketplace sales is growing on Prime Day. Third-party merchants’ sales accounted for 37.2% of all Prime Day sales through Amazon this year, up from 36.0% in 2021 and 35.1% in 2020.
Marketplace sellers’ growth outpaced company’s own retail segment
During the two prior Prime Day events, Amazon offered consumers an incentive to purchase from marketplace merchants. Prime members received a $10 credit to use on any products during Prime Day if they spent at least $10 on items sold by marketplace sellers in the weeks leading up to the event. In 2021, more than 300,000 sellers were eligible for the “Spend $10, Get $10″ promotion — more than twice as many as the prior year, the company says. The Amazon-funded promotion generated $1.9 billion in marketplace sales during the two weeks leading up to Prime Day, up more than 100% year over year from the more than $900 million in 2020, according to the web giant.
In 2022, Amazon revamped the marketplace seller program, announcing a “Support Small Businesses to Win Big” sweepstakes. The move drove more than $3 billion worth of purchases through marketplace sellers as a lead-in to the Prime Day sale this year, Amazon says. For every $1 shoppers spent on eligible “small-business,” or third-party seller, products from June 21 through July 11, they received a chance to win prizes. Raffle items included a pre-game experience and tickets to Super Bowl LVII, VIP passes to musical shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, a cast meet-and-greet and movie screening, Amazon gift cards and more.
Amazon also publicized its new “Small Business Badge,” which it says helps consumers discover and shop curated collections from smaller, independent brands that sell on the site. These include Black-, women- and military family-owned businesses, which Amazon is identifying in a more visible way. The retailer didn’t respond to inquiries on how sellers or products qualify for the badge and how many currently have been awarded the emblem.
Amazon Prime Day sales estimates
Here are some insights that helped Digital Commerce 360 derive its Amazon Prime Day sales estimates:
Consumer spending up during Prime Day
Early results of a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 875 online shoppers on July 14 shows nearly half — 46% — of consumers reported spending more on Amazon during this year’s Prime Day sale than in 2021. In comparison, 37% of respondents said they spent about the same and 17% spent less.
Other consumer data supports that trend. According to figures from a Numerator panel, Prime Day shoppers’ spending on the site went up in 2022. The firm derives its insights from purchasing patterns on the Amazon platform. For the full 48-hour period, the average order value registered $52.26, up 16.8% from $44.75 during Prime Day 2021.
Numerator data is based on 58,934 Prime Day orders placed through Amazon and spanning 21,306 unique households as well as a survey of 4,847 verified buyers.
Shoppers tighten purse strings with inflation but stock up with deals
Inflation has been plaguing consumers, and many of them reported expecting to skip buying non-necessities during Prime Day. But instead, their dollars seemed to shift to more practical merchandise categories. In a time of magnified price-consciousness, shoppers opted to stock up on household products and consumer packaged goods, or CPGs.
Nearly a third — 29% — of consumers on the Numerator panel purchased household essentials. That was the highest consumer share of any category. In fact, Frito-Lay variety packs fell just out of the top five items purchased during Prime Day, according to Numerator.
“We may end up colloquially calling this Prime Day ‘CPG Day,’” says Melissa Burdick, president and co-founder of Pacvue, an online marketing consulting firm. “This year, consumer spending was focused on household and essential goods rather than high-ticket items due to inflation concerns and a decrease in household savings.”
According to Burdick, a former Amazon executive, CPG brands leaned heavily into the sales event this year to take advantage of increased consumer demand.
More than a quarter — 27% — of consumers on Numerator’s panel reported buying everyday goods they’d be buying anyway. That’s a higher share than the 20% who said they purchased larger-ticket items they’d only purchase on sale.
Consumers didn’t buy as much from other retailers during Prime Day
During the two-day Amazon Prime Day sales event, U.S. online spending through all ecommerce sites reached $11.9 billion, up 8.5% from $11.0 billion for the sale in 2021, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. Analysis from research firm Adobe Analytics, the insights arm of technology company Adobe Inc., is based on more than 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites and measures transactions from 80 of the top 100 online retailers ranked in the Top 1000. The data captures more than 100 million SKUs in 18 product categories.
Those figures capture just U.S. spending, and international trends are nuanced. But the data provides insight on Amazon’s impact on the country’s overall ecommerce sales during July 12 and 13. The web giant is likely the biggest driver of that 8.5% year-over-year growth, as 62% of consumers in the Numerator panel said they didn’t place orders on other retail sites outside of Amazon during Prime Day. Similarly, 59% of respondents polled in the early Digital Commerce 360 survey said none of their Prime Day purchases were from other retailers.
While about half of Digital Commerce 360’s top 250 retailers offered widespread sales to counter Amazon’s Prime Day in 2021, some big players skipped the hoopla this year. Walmart Inc. (No. 2) ran a well-promoted “Deals for Days” in 2021 to coincide with Amazon’s annual sale but decided to pass this year. Instead, the chain ran a lower-profile deal event in early June that didn’t garner as much buzz. Both Amazon and Walmart have an outsized impact on how the overall market performs, and Amazon is likely largely responsible for the year-over-year increase in overall Prime Day sales.
Experts weigh in on Prime Day impact
Many marketplace sellers that work with Advantage Unified Commerce were up double digits this year vs. Prime Day 2021, according to Fahim Naim, head of Amazon at the ecommerce consulting agency. Digital Commerce 360 estimates that third-party sellers grew their Prime Day sales by 11.7% year over year.
“We have been hoping for a strong Prime Day, and that is exactly what we got,” he says. “This is the boost that many brands have been looking for entering Q3 with sales in the first half of this year being lukewarm.”
It was a welcomed surprise after expecting Prime Day sales would be “flat-ish,” Naim says. Before the sales event, he says he noticed consumers being cautious about their spending because of the overall economic and geopolitical environment. Naim anticipated shoppers would continue to purchase must-have items like personal care products and CPGs, but he was “wary” about the sales of high-ticket, nice-to-have products.
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