business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that Amazon says “it sold more than 175 million items during this year’s Prime Day shopping event, more than its sales for the past Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.”

No dollar figure was given, however.

The International Business Times writes that “according to Amazon, Prime members saved more than $1 billion during the sale with millions of items purchased and shipped in one day or faster, which it called the ‘fastest Prime Day ever’ … Amazon’s Whole Foods Market also did well with organic strawberries, red cherries, blueberries making up the top-selling goods while its independent third-party sellers sold more than $2 billion in products.”

According to the CNBC story, Amazon “said that on Monday and Tuesday it sold more Amazon devices — like the Echo Dot, the Fire TV Stick and Alexa Voice Remote — over a two-day period than it ever has before.

“A ‘record number’ of Prime members in the U.S., which pay an annual fee of $119 to get perks like free shipping and access to Prime Day, shopped the event this year, Amazon said. It said it added more new Prime members on July 15 than it ever has before on a single day. And it said almost as many people signed up again on July 16.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that search intelligence firm Captify says that internet searches for “cancelling Amazon Prime” were considerably more numerous - at one point, 18 times higher - once Prime Days started than just the day before.

The suggestion is that people joined Amazon Prime to take advantage of the promotion’s deep discounts, and then bailed out once their purchases were made. In addition, the research suggests, consumers are simply getting savvier about the online shopping experience: “Searches for Best Buy Co. were up 255% from the day before Prime Day, while Walmart Inc. queries climbed 130% and EBay Inc. searches rose 72%. That suggests shoppers are bouncing from one site to another in search of the best deal before subscribing to Amazon Prime.”

“If Amazon is hoping to use Prime Day as a way to sign up and retain new Prime members, they might need to rethink their retention plan,” Captify said in a statement.
KC's View:
It was inevitable that competing retailers would see some benefit from the annual Prime Day event - many of them offered their own sales at around the same time, hoping to steal some sales and customers from Amazon. But it has to be pointed out that Amazon is setting the terms of the promotion, and everybody else is simply responding.

There’s a lot of research out there saying that Amazon Prime has an enviable retention rate - as high as 90 percent. We know that Amazon Prime is reported to have as many as 103 million members just in the US, and that they spend more than twice as much annually as non-Prime customers.

I’m pretty sure that Amazon rethinks pretty much everything as it works to improve its value proposition … if I were competing with Amazon, that’s precisely what would worry me.