Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Day, its annual summer sales event, will span over two days in mid-July, likely July 15 and 16, says Fahim Naim, founder and CEO of eShopportunity, a consultancy that helps brands sell on Amazon. A variety of sources have confirmed the date, he says, without providing specifics. Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation on the rumored dates.
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 generate additional business for Amazon—and the retailer’s marketplace sellers—before the holiday shopping season.
Prime Day is also a vehicle for Amazon to drive shoppers to sign up for its Prime membership, a $119 per-year loyalty program that offers such perks as free one- or two-day shipping, digital photo storage and video streaming. The Prime Day deals are only available to Prime members.
Prime Day 2018 was the second-biggest sales day for Amazon, after Cyber Monday 2018, the company said in November. Amazon doesn’t disclose its Prime Day sales figures, but Internet Retailer estimates sales hit $4.19 billion globally during the 36-hour sales event July 16–17, 2018. That was up nearly 74% from $2.41 billion during the 2017 Prime Day (a 30-hour sales event July 11–12, 2017), according to Internet Retailer estimates.
While it’s unclear if Prime Day will be 36 hours or longer this year, Naim says the event will likely be longer considering Amazon lost a few hours last year due to technical issues. Shoppers saw error messages and broken landing pages when deals first went live on July 16, 2018. Many shoppers couldn’t add items to their carts or had to try several times to check out. Amazon fixed the issues within a few hours. Internet Retailer estimates Amazon lost around $72.6 million in sales during the technical difficulties.
“The Prime Day lead-up will be a bigger deal this year,” Naim says, because it seems more brands—both big and small—will offer Prime Day deals this summer, likely due to the success Amazon had during last year’s event. “I expect Amazon will try to frame this more and more as Prime Week,” he adds.
Several factors contributed to the high growth in sales on Prime Day last year: The sales event lasted six hours longer than the 2017 sale. Prime Day was also held in 17 countries last year, up from 13 countries the prior year. The markets new to Prime Day 2018 were Australia, Singapore, Netherlands and Luxembourg. These countries joined the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria.
Amazon also had more Prime members in 2018 than it did in 2017, widening the pool of potential Prime Day customers. Prime Day deals are only available to members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program. Amazon in 2018 confirmed it has more than 100 million Prime members worldwide. Although the company did not specify a year-over-year comparison, Hitwise (a part of digital marketing firm Connexity Inc.) said Amazon signs up roughly 200,000 new Prime members per month.
Nearly 28% of U.S. online shoppers made a purchase on Prime Day last year, according to an exclusive Internet Retailer and Toluna survey of 1,006 online consumers conducted July 18–19, 2018. Internet Retailer asked shoppers the same question in 2017 in a survey conducted with Bizrate Insights. In that survey, 21.8% of online shoppers said they made a purchase on Prime Day 2017.