Amazon Prime Day is Monday and Tuesday of next week, and 2019 is shaping up to be the most massive one yet. In fact, Amazon has outdone the previous year’s sales records on Prime Day every year since it began in 2015. Now five years old, Prime Day is an established annual event that helps Amazon boost its quarterly sales, highlight its own products, and hook new members on Prime.
Positioned between graduation and back to school season, Prime Day has boosted what is typically a very slow period in the retail world. Amazon has grown Prime Day from a regular annual sale into an industry-wide event, and other retailers now draft off the momentum.
During the Prime Day period of July 15th and 16th, we will be providing live updates about this year’s big sale as they roll in.
We will be keeping tabs on the search trends surround Prime Day, what the competitors are doing, how the site is performing, and how the consumers and press are reacting. Please stay tuned on this blog and our Twitter to receive the updates!
Before we jump into Prime Day 2019, let’s review last year.
Prime Day 2018
Last year, Amazon crashed within 15 minutes of Prime Day’s kickoff. Google Trends data shows that the most popular Prime Day search terms revolved around the “crash” as shoppers reacted to Amazon’s server malfunction in live time. It didn’t seem to hurt them too much, though; the company reported its largest sales day ever in history.
The top-selling items on Prime Day 2018 were the Echo Dot and Fire TV stick with Alexa remote, both Amazon electronics that grow the user base across the rest of Amazon’s media platforms. The top-selling non-Amazon items in 2018 included the Instant Pot, Life Straws, Bosch power drills, and robot vacuums.
According to Google Trends data, searches for Prime Day deals improved by 33% year on year from 2017. “Whole Foods” was a breakout term along with “Audible,” “Amazon Echo,” “Amazon Alexa,” and “FireTV,” illustrating again how the creation of Prime Day benefits the broader Amazon portfolio by recruiting new users.
2018 was also the first year that Prime Day extended to Amazon’s brick-and-mortar locations, with a week of deals appearing at Whole Foods. This year, they are adding the additional perk of a $10 Prime Day coupon to customers who spend $10 in-store prior to the event.
What’s New in 2019
Each year Prime Day improves as Amazon tests and learns. Here are a few new features added this year:
The length of the event. Prime Day 2019 is actually… two days. Last year the event was 36 hours long, and this year it will last for 48 hours through July 15th and 16th, making it the longest Prime Day in Amazon’s history.
The number of Prime members. By June of 2018, Amazon was said to have 100 million Prime subscribers. That is the most recent stat we have from Amazon about their number of Prime subscribers, but it stands to assume that a full year later, they have increased significantly. The company claims to have added more Prime members on July 16, 2018 than any previous day in Amazon history, so we look forward to them announcing updated numbers after this year’s event.
Expanded markets. Amazon.ae launched in March of 2019, meaning the United Arab Emirates will be included in Prime Day for the first time this year.
Advertising efforts. Amazon is spending a ton of money on television advertising to drive awareness, traffic, energy, and excitement for Prime Day. In 2018, Amazon spent roughly $5MM on Prime Day TV advertising during the two week-lead up, accounting for 54% of Amazon’s annual TV spend. The 2019 spend will almost double to around $9m. Between 6/30 and 7/11, Amazon’s TV spend was already $4.5m, according to iSpot.tv, and was increasing every day to more than $500k.
Star power. Amazon is leaning into the power of celebrity clout this year. They hosted a Prime Day concert featuring big names like Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa and highlighted a slew of Prime Day celebrity partnerships advertising exclusive products and deals on existing lines. The week before Prime Day, Lady Gaga announced Haus Laboratories, a makeup line she will launch and sell exclusively on Amazon. New audiences are likely to be pulled in with the large social following of these stars, and it’s clear Amazon is strategically building hype leading up to the sale.
Live shopping (think QVC) is now a feature of Prime Day with Twitch Sells Out, a two-day livestream event starring some of the platform’s biggest influencers.
What the Competition is Doing
This year, over the last month Google Trends data shows that searches relating to “deals” or “discounts” were 30 times higher for Amazon searches than any of their competitors. However, many big retail names use the excitement around Prime Day to push out their own big sales events. Though July is typically a very dry time in the shopping world, Amazon has essentially constructed a new holiday shopping season that creates a perceived discount across the board.
In a direct reference to Amazon’s mishap last year, eBay is holding a “Crash Sale.” The sales event kicks off on July 1 and runs for three weeks, but, according to the official press release, will drop a special batch of deeply discounted items “if history repeats itself and Amazon crashes [on Prime Day].” Not one for subtlety, they also released this ad to poke fun at Amazon and promote their Crash Sale.
Last year, Target announced a Deal Days promotion in tandem with Prime Day. The competitive move was a huge win; it resulted in the company’s largest online shopping day to date. The store will discount thousands of products again this year and they emphasized that, unlike Amazon, no membership is required to take part.
Macy’s is holding a “Black Friday in July” sale that ends the day before Prime Day.
You guessed it: they’re having a sale too.
Prime Day Insights from our Friends at Dentsu
Merkle has created a ton of great resources surrounding Prime Day, for marketers and brands. You can start with Amazon Prime Day is Coming – Advertisers Brace for Impact, a marketer’s guide to preparing for Prime Day, and then check out the Pre-Prime Day Checklist for Success.