This year’s two-day Prime Day event has come to a close, and Amazon reported it was the biggest shopping event in its history. Prime Day sales totaled more than Amazon’s 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue combined, according to the company.
“Prime members purchased more than 175 million items throughout the event. Prime Day was also the biggest event ever for Amazon devices, when comparing two-day periods,” said Amazon.
An extended Prime Day means more sales. It’s worth noting this year’s Prime Day was the longest yet, starting 12:00 a.m. PT on July 15 and lasting a full 48 hours. Last year’s Prime Day was 36 hours long, and 2017’s lasted 30 hours. Obviously, the more time Amazon gives Prime members to shop for discounted products, the more revenue it’s going to generate.
It is notable Amazon was able to outperform its Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales during a 48 hour period in the middle of summer — two time periods of the same length. By the end of this year’s Prime Day, Prime members in 18 countries bought more than 175 million items on Amazon.
Big day for Prime Member subscriptions. Amazon said it saw more new Prime Member subscriptions on July 15 than any other day in its history, and “almost as many” on the second day of the shopping event: “Making these the two biggest days ever for member signups.”
Amazon didn’t release member signup numbers, but more than a year ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos confirmed the company had more than 100 million Prime members.
SMBs cross the $2 billion mark. Small and medium sized businesses selling on Amazon generated more than $2 billion during this year’s Prime Day — doubling last year’s more than $1 billion in sales by SMBs.
“Prime Day 2019 was another record-breaking success for independent third-party sellers—mostly small and medium-sized businesses,” said Amazon, “Globally, these businesses far exceeded $2 billion in sales this Prime Day, making it the biggest Amazon shopping event ever for third-party sellers when comparing two-day periods.”
It’s worth noting that from a regulatory perspective, it’s in Amazon’s interest to tout itself as a “friend” of SMBs.
Amazon’s impact on the industry. Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 to drive Prime memberships, but the shopping event has grown well beyond the company’s original loyalty shopping initiative — and reframed the commerce calendar industry-wide.
The shopping event is now defined as the kick-off to back to school shopping season, with other online retailers piggy-backing onto the sales event and taking advantage of the e-commerce push
Still, online retail forecasts show Amazon will continue to grab a bigger share of the e-commerce market. A report from FTI Consulting predicts Amazon’s online market share will reach 43% this year, with the company positioned to own more than half of all online sales by 2024.
Why we should care. FTI Consulting’s report said, overall, the online retail growth rate is decelerating. “Online sales growth in the mid-teens (14% – 17% YOY) has been as consistent and reliable this decade as the chances of the New England Patriots making the playoffs,” according to FTI, “The script flipped in mid-2018 when online sales growth began to decelerate towards the low-12% vicinity in the most recent two quarters.”
While Prime Day has become a force of its own, it’s also a reminder that as merchants compete for customer transactions with deals, free shipping and other offers, deep discounts will inevitably impact revenue growth. Amazon sellers and retailer competitors, alike, will need to continue to look for growth opportunities and focus on UX and customer experiences throughout the customer journey to improve customer lifetime values. Amazon’s impact on the e-commerce industry is no more evident than on Prime Day, the signature of which is a loyalty program that attracts high-value, repeat customers — and has become the envy of the industry.