Consumers worldwide spent nearly $13 billion with Amazon.com Inc. during the retail giant’s ninth-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 prior Prime Days, it was a small uptick over 2022.
Amazon is No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s new 2023 Global Online Marketplaces Report, which ranks the 100 largest global marketplaces by 2023 third-party GMV.
How much did Amazon make on Prime Day?
Digital Commerce 360 estimates Amazon’s sales on Prime Day hit $12.90 billion globally during the manufactured retail holiday, which spanned July 11 and 12. That’s up 6.7% year over year from the same shopping spree in 2022, which ran July 12 and 13. Last year, sales grew 8.1% over the 2021 event to $12.09 billion. 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 375 million items worldwide during the 2023 event. That’s up from 300 million last year, Amazon says.
What is 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, more than 20 markets participated.
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.
Other retailers sales slow on Prime Day
Amazon isn’t alone in doing big sales on weekdays in July. Many of its top competitors held sales during the same period, with No. 2 Walmart Inc. returning to the promotional holiday this year after sitting out last year.
However, many retailers saw a smaller Prime Day bump in traffic this year compared to last year, according to Digital Commerce 360’s analysis of Similarweb traffic numbers. Last year, for example, Target Corp. (No. 5 in the Top 1000) grew traffic 42.3% over a control period two weeks prior to Prime Day. This year, traffic was up just 26.9%. Costco Wholesale Corp. (No. 6) went from a 24.6% bump last year to 16.7% this year. Best Buy Co. (No. 7), which usually gets huge increases in traffic as shoppers compare prices on big-ticket items, saw its bump drop to 51.2% from 85.0% last year.
Walmart, which didn’t participate in Prime Day promos last year, saw its change in traffic grow by half, up to 24.9% from 16.7%. But even Amazon had a smaller increase in traffic compared to the control period, down less than 1% compared to 2022’s bump.
Some of this is a difference in promo strategy. Retailers were heavily promotional during the 4th of July holiday period this year, with more offering Independence Day sales than competing with Prime Day. Also, top competitors offered week-long sales, meaning shoppers could focus on Amazon during its two-day sale and turn to Target, Walmart and Costco afterward to pick up other deals.
For the full week, Target’s bump was still lower than last year, but the decline was much softer, with an 18.6% decline for the week compared to a 36.5% decline for the two-day period. Walmart’s bump similarly grew when looking at the full week, up 56.0% for the week compared to a 49.2% increase for the two-day period.
How we got here
Here are some insights that helped Digital Commerce 360 derive its Amazon Prime Day sales estimates:
Consumer spending up on Amazon during Prime Day
According to figures from a Numerator panel, Prime Day shoppers’ spending on the site went up in 2023. The firm derives its insights from purchasing patterns on the Amazon platform. For the full 48-hour period, the average order value registered $54.05, up 3.4% from $52.26 during Prime Day 2021. Nearly a fifth of households placed five or more orders during the two-day period.
Numerator data is based on 98,462 Prime Day orders placed through Amazon and spanning 34,185 unique households as well as a survey of more than 4,200 verified buyers.
Outside of Amazon, sales weren’t so rosy. Salesforce says non-Amazon sales in the U.S. were down 10% year over year for the first day of the sales holiday and down 7% on the second, with average discounts dropping to 18% this year compared to 30% last year. According to the Commerce Cloud provider, discounting was higher during the 4th of July period, peaking at 25% on the holiday.
Still, overall U.S. ecommerce spending was up 6.1% for the Prime Day period, according to Adobe Analytics. The insights arm of technology company Adobe Inc. said U.S. ecommerce sales hit $12.7 billion for the two days, a new Prime Day record based on Adobe Analytics data of 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and 100 million SKUs.
Amazon said the first day of the sales event marked its largest single-day sales ever.
Merchants weigh in
Andrey Klen is pleased with how things went for his company on Amazon.com during Prime Day this year. The co-founder and chief marketing officer of Petcube said “Prime Day performed much better in comparison to the previous year. Compared to an average day, we’ve seen a double-digit multiple on sales. We were able to beat optimistic high growth projections on our main product.”
Klen said sales numbers suggest that shoppers were excited about Prime Day this year and had planned purchases of Petcube products well in advance of the two-day sales event.
“We had lower conversion a couple of days prior to Prime Day, followed by the massive explosion for the first hours on the date. Most likely, people were adding the products to the cart beforehand,” Klen said.
Thrasio Holdings Inc., an investment company that has purchased a number of Amazon merchants, said some of its brands had their best days ever during the event.
“These were the two most profitable days in Thrasio history,” Thrasio CEO Greg Greeley said in a written statement.
Thrasio’s latest acquisition — a seller of insect-repellent spray called Ranger Ready Repellents — had a record-breaking day on Amazon and tripled its Prime Day 2022 sales.
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