What is Prime Day?
Amazon Prime Day got its start in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Amazon’s founding. It takes place in the middle of July. Prime Day 2019 ran for two days (July 15 and 16), making it the longest Prime Day ever. In past years it's taken place between July 10 and 17.
Strictly speaking, Prime Day is not a “day,” but a two-day global deal marathon for Amazon Prime members. It lasted for 48 hours in 2019 and 36 hours in 2018. To take advantage of the deals, you must have a Prime membership by the time Prime day starts. Prime Day takes place all over the world in countries that offer Prime, including the U.S., Spain, Germany, Japan and more.
Prime Day is a fast-moving beast. It offers many simultaneous discounts on products throughout the whole event, but also short-lived lightning deals (which appear and disappear at specific times). Some deals even begin weeks before. For example, in recent years, Amazon has slashed prices on some of its own Echo products a few days early to hype up consumers.
Notable Moments in Prime Day History
February 2005: The beginning of it all -- Amazon launches its Prime service, with its game-changing free two-day shipping and an annual cost of $79 (compared to $119 per year today). Prime Day, however, won't launch for another decade.
July 6, 2015: Meet Prime Day. Amazon announces the first Prime Day in a press release. The wording makes it very clear that Amazon intends Prime Day to become a summertime counterpoint to Black Friday.
July 13, 2015: Walmart, Amazon’s biggest competitor, wastes no time in firing back at Prime Day. In a blog, Walmart announces that it, too, will be holding a week-long deal event in July -- but that it would not charge “$100 to get access to a sale,” unlike “some retailers” (a dig at Prime's membership cost). In addition to being the latest battle in the Amazon vs. Walmart war, Walmart’s competing sale begins the trend of Black Friday in July -- the flurry of competing sales that pops up around Prime Day.
July 12, 2016: The second Prime Day takes place. This year, Amazon supplements its “Everything is on sale” approach (mocked by critics as its “garage sale” approach) with healthy price drops on its own devices (Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, etc.) However, many shoppers experience glitches in adding items to their carts and checking out, causing frustration when they missed lightning deals as a result.
Hot items on the second Prime Day were Amazon’s own devices, Lenovo laptops, iRobot Roomba cleaning robots, headphones, toys and shoes.
July 25, 2016: The numbers confirm that the second Prime Day has surpassed the success of the first. On the second Prime Day, Amazon sales accounted for 74% of all e-commerce conducted that day. Meanwhile, orders on Amazon’s mobile app doubled, compared to Prime Day 2015.
July 10, 2017: The third Prime Day begins. Amazon begins offering a preview feature in its app so that shoppers can see deals 24 hours before they go live. Prime Day also gets an earlier start than in previous years, with the first deals appearing at 9 p.m. ET on July 10. For the first time, Amazon also makes Prime Day deals available to voice shoppers two hours early via Alexa devices.
In addition to its usual discounts on products, Amazon begins offering discounts on its services, including Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Pantry, Amazon Video and Kindle Unlimited.
At this point, plenty of major retailers are holding their own concurrent Black Friday in July sales, including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Nordstrom and Dell. To compete with Prime, many of these sales include free shipping.
July 12, 2017: With the numbers in, Amazon declares the third Prime Day another success. Prime Day sales grew 60% over Prime Day 2016, according to Amazon’s numbers.
July 3, 2018: Amazon announces that Prime Day 2018 will run for 36 hours, from July 16 at 3 p.m. EST through July 17. It's a bit later than in past years (likely to avoid competition with the World Cup).
Prime Day 2018 has a number of new features, including:
- Prime Day Launches: Certain products are launched for Prime members only.
- Whole Foods deals: Taking full advantage of its Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon offers $10 to spend on Prime Day for any members who spend $10 at Whole Foods July 11 to 17. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholders get double rewards on Whole Foods purchases. And certain Prime Day deals on Amazon devices were available at brick-and-mortar Whole Foods stores.
- Unboxing Prime Day events: Amazon shipped giant boxes to select cities throughout the world that, when opened, revealed special prizes and events, including private concerts.
July 16, 2018: Prime Day 2018 launches to plenty of glitches, including error pages when users click on product categories and an infinite loop when users click on "Shop all Deals." Frustrated shoppers take to Twitter, and errors continue until late in the evening of July 16.
Those who were able to make purchases found plenty of deals, though, including:
- The Amazon Echo 2nd Generation ($69.99) and the Instantpot (six-quart) for $58.88 (the lowest prices ever on these items).
- 23andMe Health + Ancestry for $99.99
- Discounts on nearly all Amazon's proprietary electronics, including the Fire TV Cube, Fire TV stick and Kindles.
July 18, 2018: Glitches aside, Amazon declares Prime Day 2018 a success and the biggest shopping event in its history with more than 100 million products purchased and more than 17 million transactions made.
June 24, 2019: Amazon announces Prime Day 2019. Once again, its announcement confirms that Amazon is upping its game and lengthening Prime Day -- this time to two full days of more than 1 million deals, starting at midnight PT July 15.
Prime Day 2019 repeats a lot of Amazon's strategies from previous years, including rewarding Prime Day credits to Amazon shoppers. It also launches, for the first time, a Prime Day concert (headlined by Taylor Swift), as well as special deals on brands endorsed and founded by celebrities, including Kobe Bryant, Jaden Smith, Kristen Bell and JoJo Siwa.
July 15 2019: Prime Day 2019 begins and is defined by best-ever pricing on key Amazon products. The Echo smart speaker's price falls to $49.99 for the first time, the Echo Dot is priced at $22, and the Fire TV stick is available for $14.99.
July 17, 2019: Amazon announces that, once again, Prime Day outdid last year's performance, with more than 175 million items sold. The most popular items included, the Echo Dot, Fire TV stick and the Fire TV Stick 4K. Sales surpassed the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined for Amazon.
Prime Day Statistics
General Amazon and Amazon Prime statistics
- As of 2017, Amazon Prime had 100 million paid subscribers. (Source: Amazon 2018 letter to shareholders)
- In 2017, Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items with Prime worldwide. (Source: Amazon 2018 letter to shareholders)
- Amazon's first-party business (ie, Amazon sales, not third-party marketplace sales) grew from $1.6 billion in 1999 to $117 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, third-party sales grew from $0.1 billion to $160 billion. (Source: Amazon 2019 letter to sharholders)
- Amazon's Echo devices have a dominant (76.2%) market share as of May 2018. Google Home is in second place with a 21.8% market share. Apple's Homepod is at about 1%. (Source: Slice Intelligence)
- 29% more consumers said they shop at Amazon in 2018, compared to 2017. (Source: Offers.com)
- Comparing 2017 to 2018, the number of Americans with Prime accounts increased by 4% (480 out of 1,000 respondents had one in 2018 vs. 460 out of 1,000 in 2017). (Source: Offers.com)
Prime Day spending statistics
- Total Prime Day sales numbers are not released by Amazon. But analysts have estimated them as follows:
2019: 5.8 billion (Source: Bloomberg)
2018: $4.2 billion (Source: Bloomberg)
2017: $1 billion (Source: Bloomberg)
2016: $525 million (Source: CNBC)
2015: $415 million (Source: CNBC)
- On the first Prime Day, customers ordered more than 34 million items worldwide and order growth outstripped the previous Black Friday by 18%. In 2018, Prime Day shoppers purchased 100 million products, more than triple the number of items purchased on Prime Day 2015. In 2018, shoppers purchased more than 175 million items.
- During Prime Day 2018, Amazon accounted for 86% of all transactions made during the two days of Prime Day. (Source: Hitwise)
- In 2018, 25% of consumers planned to spend at least $100 on Prime Day. (Source: Offers.com)
- Prime Day has only grown since its inaugural year (2015). Sales were up 50% year over year on the second Prime Day (2016). In 2017, sales were up 60% over 2016. As for 2018, Amazon hasn't released the YoY percentage increase in sales, but has said Prime Day 2018 sales were up 400% over a typical day. (Source: Slice Intelligence and Amazon)
- Prime Day vs. Cyber Monday: Both days are known for their online deals, but Prime Day has a history of outperforming Cyber Monday. Prime Day 2016 beat out the previous Cyber Monday’s sales by 19%. It also comprised 74% of e-commerce sales conducted on that date. In 2017, Prime Day beat the previous Cyber Monday’s sales by 33%. (Source: Slice Intelligence 2016 and 2017 data)
- About 48% of all U.S. consumers had a Prime account heading into Prime Day 2018, according to a June 2018 Offers.com survey.
- The first day of Prime Day 2019 (July 15) saw more new Prime membership signups than any other day previously. (Source: Amazon)
- 18% of consumers planned on participating in Prime Day 2018 (down from 19% in 2017), while 47% said they’d wait to see the sales before deciding (down from 55% in 2017), according to an Offers.com survey. Per the same survey, 19% of consumers said Prime Day sales hadn’t lived up to the hype.
- “Heavy” Amazon shoppers (those who average more than four Amazon purchases per month) comprised 50% of the Prime Day shoppers in 2016 (up from 41% of buyers in 2015). (Source: Slice Intelligence)
Popular Prime Day products
- Heading into Prime Day 2019, the most desired Prime Day deals shoppers wanted most were smart home gadgets: 44% of shoppers were hoping for smart home deals. TVs and streaming devices were in second, with 42% of shoppers hoping for deals on those items. (Source: PCMag)
- The most-bought products on Prime Day 2019 were Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, iRobot Roomba 690, MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener, Amazon Smart Plug and Fire Tablets (with the Fire 7 Tablet being the top seller). (Source: Amazon)
- Prime Day 2019 shoppers purchased two times as many Ring and Blink security devices as last Prime Day. (Source: Amazon)
- Prime Day 2019 was the biggest event ever on Amazon for Alexa devices with screens (such as the Echo Show and new Echo Show 5). (Source: Amazon)
- Prime members purchased more than 100,000 lunchboxes, 100,000 laptops, 200,000 TVs, 1 million headphones, 350,000 luxury beauty products, 400,000 pet products, 650,000 household cleaning supplies, more than 1 million toys, more than 200,000 LifeStraw Personal Water Filters and 150,000 Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Kits. (Source: Amazon)
- The most desired Prime Day sales heading into Prime Day 2018 were on electronics and home goods, with 41% of consumers saying they hoped to find deals in each of these categories. Clothing followed at 28%, then toys and games (20%), then tools (16%). (Source: Offers.com)
- Top-selling products in the U.S. for Prime Day 2018 included the Fire TV Stick, Instant Pot (six-quart), 23andMe DNA Test, Ring video doorbells (which had their biggest day ever on Prime Day 2018), the Echo Dot and LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. (Source: Amazon)
- More than 1 million smart home devices were sold during Prime 2018, and shoppers bought more than 300,000 Instant Pot six-Qt. 7-in-1 pressure cookers. (Source: Amazon).
- Top-selling Prime Day 2018 products among BlackFriday.com users included the Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot and 23andMe (Source: BlackFriday.com)
- Amazon’s own products made up 63% of unit sales across all items in the Top 10 items sold in 2017. The most-sold item in 2017 was the Echo Dot. (Source: Slice Intelligence)
- On Prime Day 2017, consumers purchased 3.5 million toys, 200,000 women’s dresses, 200,000 light bulbs (Source: Amazon). They also purchased 267,000 Echo Dots, 241,000 Echos and 160,000 Fire HD 8 Tablets (Source: Hitwise).
- On Prime Day 2016, consumers bought 2 million toys, 1 million pairs of shoes, 90,000 TVs, 215,000 pressure cookers and 23,000 Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robots. (source: Amazon)
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