Prime Day: Amazon’s biggest sales day ever

July 13, 2016 11:24 AM Inc.’s second Prime Day sale proved historic.

Prime Day 2016, held for 24 hours Tuesday, was the biggest sales day in the company’s 21-year history, Amazon says. A spokeswoman declined to specify a dollar figure and did not name the online retailer’s previous biggest sales day. Amazon said customers worldwide placed 60% more orders on Prime Day this year than they did last year. Orders from U.S. shoppers were up more than 50% year over year, and the number of orders placed on Amazon’s mobile app more than doubled compared with Prime Day 2015, the company said.

“After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again,” Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley said Wednesday.

Based on available data, Internet Retailer estimates Amazon did about $2.5 billion in sales globally on Prime Day 2016, up from $1.5 billion in sales globally last year. ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps merchants sell on online marketplaces such as Amazon, estimates Amazon’s gross merchandise volume at $225.6 billion in fiscal 2015, which means Prime Day 2016 accounted for 1.1% of Amazon’s total GMV. Investment firm Maxim Group estimates Amazon's global GMV in 2015 at $185 billion, which would make this year's Prime Day sales nearly 1.4% of everything sold last year on Amazon's global e-commerce sites.

Amazon did not say how many new members signed up on Tuesday for Prime, its $99-a-year service that comes with expedited shipping and other perks, including the ability to take advantage of the Prime Day discounts. However, one of the factors driving the growth of Prime Day orders this year is the success Amazon has had in the last 12 months in building Prime membership. According to estimates by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners LLC, Amazon’s U.S. Prime membership jumped 43% to 63 million in the year ended June 30.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, held Prime Day for the first time on July 15, 2015, a Wednesday, to celebrate its 20th birthday. Amazon did not release sales figures for Prime Day last year, saying only that its sales were 18% higher on the inaugural Prime Day than they were on Black Friday 2014.

This year on Prime Day, electronic items were popular. Amazon says it sold more than 90,000 TVs and hundreds of thousands of Kindle e-readers. Shoppers bought three times the number of Amazon devices than they did last year.

Analysts were quick to hail the day as a success for Amazon.

“We believe that Amazon benefited this year from greater awareness of the event, as well as learning from last year’s stock-outs and logistical challenges to ensure greater availability of product and higher-quality deals,” writes Colin Sebastian, an e-commerce analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “In addition, Amazon worked more closely with select third-party sellers to plan in advance for higher order volumes.”

Amazon also listened to consumers, who complained about product selection last year, and amped up its offerings on TVs, consumer electronics and other in-demand goods. Twitter users in 2015 lashed out at Amazon using the #PrimeDayFail hashtag to express their disappointment in the quality of the deals. Data from Adobe Systems Inc.’s Adobe Digital Index showed that half of all social media posts related to Prime Day last year conveyed sadness or disappointment. Adobe’s data told a different tale this year. 39% of all Prime Day-related social media posts expressed disappointment, while 30% expressed happiness, up from 23% last year.

From a pricing perspective, shoppers who were in the market to purchase a tablet or a Blu-Ray player saved the most money on average. Market research firm Market Track LLC analyzed the prices of 1,500 items across a variety of product categories at 6 p.m. Eastern on Prime Day. Compared to the last listed price on Monday, shoppers saved an average of 24.8% on tablets. Products with the other highest discounts included:

  • Blu-Ray players: 24.6% average discount
  • Tools: 17.5%
  • Video Games: 16%
  • Toys: 14%
  • Headphones: 13%

Amazon wasn’t the only retailer offering deals Tuesday. An Internet Retailer analysis showed that In addition to Amazon, 23 of the 50 largest online retailers ran specials or limited-time promotions on Prime Day. There is early evidence suggesting that Amazon wasn’t the only retailer to benefit from the additional online shopping interest surrounding Prime Day.

Data analytics vendor BloomReach says traffic to its retail customers was up 16% compared with a typical summer day on average, representing the highest amount of e-commerce activity in the past month

For more of Internet Retailer’s coverage of Prime Day 2016, click here.

Want a quick fact sheet on Amazon Prime Day from 2015 and how it compared to all other major e-retailing sale events? 




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