What is Prime Day?
Prime Day is now Amazon’s biggest sale of the year. It is usually held during the summer months. In 2022, it was July 12 and July 13. The annual two-day deals event is for Prime members only.
The 48-hour event began at 3 a.m. EDT on July 12. Early deals began June 21.
How many countries will Prime Day take place in?
Amazon Prime Day takes place in more than 20 countries, including:
- The United States
- The Netherlands
For the first time ever, it will be available in Poland and Sweden as well.
Among the retailers slated to participate are Casper Sleep Inc., No. 180 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, iRobot Corp. (No. 374), and Bose Corp. (No. 74). Amazon ranks No. 1.
Amazon Prime Day and marketplace sellers
Despite the presence of those ecommerce heavyweights, Amazon is marketing this year’s Prime Day sale as supporting smaller retailers.
Under what it’s calling a “Win Big by Supporting Small” initiative, shoppers who buy eligible small business products from June 21 through July 11 will receive a chance to win prizes such as tickets to Super Bowl LVI. In addition, Amazon will debut a “Small Business Badge” that will let Prime members identify products from small business brands and shop curated collections. Those include Black-owned, woman-owned, and military family-owned small businesses.
Prime Day, which features deals on many products on Amazon.com, began in 2015 as a celebration of Amazon’s 20th year in business. It turned into a summer sales holiday designed to drum up additional 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 shoppers.
With potential sales like that, many retailers look forward to Amazon Prime Day.
“We think Prime day is important for us every year,” said Janet Latuga, digital marketing director of Shire City Herbals, a maker of health-focused beverages. “We always see a sales boost from it, and we try to take advantage of as many offers as we can. We’re running a lightning deal, a Prime exclusive discount and a coupon all on different ASINs so we don’t overlap any of the deals. We only do one lightning deal because the fee is a little steep on those during Prime Day (between $300-$500) and our product isn’t that expensive, so we need to sell a lot. With the change in dates over the last few years for Prime Day, it’s making it a little more difficult to compare year-over-year sales, but we definitely like to take advantage of it for the sales boost, the added exposure, and the chance to get new customers.”
Are marketplace sellers a fan of Prime Day?
Despite the sales potential, not all sellers are fans of Prime Day. The cost to participate has grown too high, they say.
“Over the last two years, Amazon Prime program, both FBA and Seller-Fulfilled Prime became too costly and onerous on our business,” Adam Greenberg, owner of Northshore Care Supply, told Digital Commerce 360. “So we were forced to pull out of those programs to focus on other channels. We still list our products on the Amazon marketplace, but without the benefit of Prime.”
Greenberg said his business likely qualifies for the small business badge on its marketplace page and that he is “investigating the process with Amazon.”
Still, he’s not interested in Prime Day and says his customers aren’t either.
“Many of our customers have moved from Amazon Prime to other channels since we had to give up our Prime listings due to excessive costs and onerous requirements,” he said. He noted that “our items are essential medical supplies where waiting for sales is too risky for customers.”
Not Everyone Is a Fan of Amazon Prime Day
This year, consumers plan to spend $388 during Prime Day this year overall (at Amazon and other retailers). They plan to spend $233 at Amazon and $155 at other stores, according to survey data from RetailMeNot. That’s 35% less overall during Prime Day (at Amazon and other stores) than last year, and 29% less at Amazon alone during Prime Day.
RetailMeNot, which runs coupon websites, and research firm Alchemer surveyed 1,137 U.S. adults over 18 in April 2022 and asked about their plans for Prime Day.
“This year, our data has continually pointed toward the trend of consumers spending less overall, with one of our recent surveys showing more than half (61%) of adults say they are likely to reduce spending this summer due to inflation,” Kristin McGrath, editor of The Real Deal by RetailMeNot, told Digital Commerce 360. “However, many people know Prime Day as one of the best times of the year to shop for deep discounts. So, if they’re saving up for bigger-ticket items like appliances, a laptop or smart home device, or a TV, shoppers are strategically shopping Prime as their next chance to get a good deal even if they might rein in their shopping and impulse buying of lots of smaller-ticket items.”
Amazon Prime Day timing is not a surprise
Marketplace experts had expected Prime Day 2022 would fall in the week of July 11 or July 18, based on an announcement to sellers who use the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) service.
On March 2, Amazon.com Inc. posted a message in its Seller Central online community saying the FBA inventory cutoff date is June 20. That means third-party merchants who sell on the Amazon Marketplace have until then to ensure they have sufficient merchandise in Amazon’s fulfillment centers to meet Prime Day demand. In the FBA system, Amazon stores, packs, picks and ships orders for sellers from its global network of fulfillment centers.
“Barring any major any setback, and based on the data and the timing of the information on Seller Central, all the stars are lining up for July 11 or 18,” Fahim Naim, head of Amazon at Advantage Unified Commerce, an ecommerce consulting agency, told Digital Commerce 360 in March.
Naim said that for the past three years, the FBA inventory cutoff date was on average 24 days before Prime Day. July 14, a Thursday, falls 24 days after June 20 this year.
Why is Amazon Prime Day in July?
It was extremely unlikely that Amazon would choose the first Monday in July this year, which is Independence Day.
“Amazon is generally wary of running anything around the Fourth of July because of consumer travel and shopping habits. They can’t expect consumers to be on their computers that day,” Naim said. “That almost takes that card off the table. They’re just not going to have Prime Day on July 4.”
Naim predicted July 11 as the most likely day, and he gave it a 70% probability. He gave July 18 a 30% probability.
Bradley Sutton, chief ecommerce strategist at Helium 10, agreed. Helium 10 makes optimization tools for sellers on the Amazon and Walmart marketplaces.
“I’m predicting the middle of July,” Sutton told Digital Commerce 360 in March, citing the June 20 cutoff date. “It also takes two to three weeks for Amazon to check-in all the inventory once it arrives, so we can probably expect Prime Day to occur within the first couple weeks of July.”
Sellers who wish to offer Prime Day deals had until April 29 to submit a proposal for consideration, Amazon said.
Getting ready for Prime Day
Given that timeframe, sellers needed to act fast.
“Especially if you’re ordering from China, it’s important to place orders immediately since shipments are taking two or more months to arrive,” Sutton said in March, noting reports that factories in Shenzhen that manufacture Amazon products were on lockdown due to another COVID-19 outbreak.
Dani Nadel, Feedvisor president and COO, said Feedvisor told customers to begin preparing Prime Day strategies before mid-April. Feedvisor is an advertising and pricing platform for Amazon sellers.
“There are a variety of strategies you can use to best prepare, such as evaluating stock levels and upcoming shipments to avoid stockouts, analyzing your pricing approach and detail pages for popular SKUs,” Nadel said in an email to Digital Commerce 360. “Maximize your impact by beginning to run your advertising campaigns at least two weeks prior to the event for ongoing adjustments and optimizations to bids, keywords and ad spend.”
In 2021, Prime Day was June 21 and 22 — the earliest it has ever been held. For the sales event’s first five years, Amazon held Prime Day in July. In 2020, Amazon postponed the event to October due to the pandemic.