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Black Friday in July: History and Statistics

Article - Black Friday in July: History and Statistics
Article - Black Friday in July: History and Statistics
Kristin McGrath

Kristin McGrath

Updated July 22, 2019

Black Friday in July is a relatively new phenomenon. The term refers to the cluster of sales that spring up around Amazon Prime Day. Here's a brief history of Black Friday in July -- and relevant sales data.

You may have heard of a little shopping day in mid-July called Amazon Prime Day. This yearly retail bonanza racked up an estimated $4 billion in sales in 2018 and has become a midsummer counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

While Amazon was the trendsetter, other retailers have followed suit. And, now, each year, a slew of sales pop up the same week as Prime Day. We call this cluster of sales Black Friday in July.

The term “Black Friday in July” actually precedes Prime Day by several years (Best Buy and Target used the term to refer to summer sales as far back as 2012). However, these sales took place at varying parts of summer. These days, Black Friday in July sales are more concentrated (usually the same week as Prime Day) and are much more expansive, with dozens of retailers participating.

Read on for the history of this retail arms race and some important stats. You can also count on us to round up Black Friday in July deals so that you can plan your shopping strategy.

Looking for Black Friday in July sales? See our 2018 Black Friday in July sales roundup with discounts from Dell, Macy's and more.

Notable moments in Black Friday in July history

July 2015: Amazon puts out a press release announcing the first Prime Day. Quick on its heels, Walmart announces its own week of deals that will be taking place at the same time. In addition to launching the Black Friday in July trend, Walmart’s announcement takes a shot at Amazon, accusing it of “charging $100 to get access to a sale,” a reference to the fact that only Prime members get access to Prime Day.

Other participants in the first Black Friday in July are Groupon, Forever 21 and Best Buy. Notably, some Black Friday in July prices on some items are better than their Black Friday/Cyber Monday prices. For example, Best Buy discounted the iPad Air 2 16GB by $100 on Thanksgiving 2014, but by $125 during Black Friday in July 2015. These competitive prices demonstrate early on that Black Friday in July/Prime Day is becoming a major shopping event in its own right.

July 2016: Even more retailers join the fray to capitalize on (and, they hope, steal a bit of) Amazon’s thunder. Many even started using the term “Black Friday in July” in their promo codes.

Macy’s holds an online sale featuring 25% off with free shipping (no minimum order). Walmart offers a “Dare to Compare” sale with promises to keep its online prices lower than those of competitors. It’s a slogan it will later re-use for Black Friday itself.

Kohl’s releases new short-lived deals every day during Prime week, to mimic Amazon’s Lightning Deals. JCPenney offers 25% off for 48 hours with its Penney Palooza sale. And Dell slashes prices on HDTVs, monitors, laptops and gaming gear.

July 2017: The Black Friday in July trend continues its growth.

All the major players that took part in 2016 take part again and even more retailers join in. Newcomers include department store Belk, which runs an online sale featuring up to 20% off on most items. Sears offers a doorbuster-heavy sale that slashes prices on appliances. DSW offers a coupon code for 30% off.

Most notably, eBay also throws a summer sale that just happens to coincide with Prime Day, offering up to 79% off featured items and 30% to 40% off various electronics. In the lead-up, it launches a TV and online advertising campaign with the slogan, “Did You Check eBay?”

This is the first year that Black Friday in July is extensively covered as an established trend by local and national media outlets, thus solidifying it as an official shopping holiday.

July 2018: eBay was the retailer that most aggressively pursued Amazon in 2018. It launched a collection of deals for $119 (making a dig at the recently-raised price of Prime membership) and launched its new Best Price Guarantee program (which refunds 110% of the price difference if you find a better deal on Amazon and select other merchants).

Meanwhile, Macy's ran a Black Friday in July Sale, while Dell offered back-to-back Black Friday in July and Cyber Week in July sales on computers. Best Buy offered some of the lowest prices seen on 4K TVs.

Target dipped its toes in the Prime Day madness by offering a one-day sale on July 17, while Walmart quietly price-matched Amazon and offered deep discounts on Google Home products.

July 2019: Once again, Black Friday in July was in full effect, with a flurry of sales around Prime Day. eBay pursued Amazon most blatantly, holding a Crash Sale (and promising its best deals if Amazon's site crashed again like it did in 2018). Target threw its Deal Days event right on top of Prime Day, on July 15 and 16. Walmart, meanwhile threw its week-long Big Save event, which started a few days before Prime Day and price-matched Amazon on a variety of key items.

But, where the competition zigged, Amazon zagged, dropping record-shattering deals on smart-home devices, as well as offering the price to beat ($55.99) on the Instant Pot Duo60 9-in-1.

Black Friday in July statistics

  • While many retailers get a piece of the Black Friday in July pie, Amazon’s slice is still the biggest -- it accounted for 86% of all transactions processed by the Top 50 retailers during Prime Day 2018 and 87% of all online transactions processed by the Top 50 retailers during Prime Day 2017. (Source: Hitwise)
  • During Prime Day 2019, online shoppers spent more than 10 times as much money on Amazon as they did on Walmart and eBay combined. (Source: Edison Trends, via Bloomberg).
  • Prime Day gives a lift to other top retailers running concurrent Black Friday in July sales. The Top 50 retailers saw 2.8 million transactions during July 16 and 17 in 2018, compared to 2.3 million the prior week (Source: Hitwise).
  • Concerns over Amazon's issues with fake product reviews may be giving other retailers an edge: 44% of shoppers say fake reviews will impact their participation in Prime Day 2019, and 37% say they're cautious about shopping on Amazon (Source: Bazaarvoice).
  • Walmart was the second-biggest retailer (compared to Amazon) during Black Friday in July 2018. It processed 642,032 transactions July 16 and 17. Target processed 295,274. Both were drawfed by Amazon, which processed 17 million transactions (Source: Hitwise).
  • One-fourth of consumers planned to spend $250 or more during summer sales like Black Friday in July in 2018 (Source:BlackFriday.com.
  • For Black Friday in July 2018, clothing was the top item for deal hunters: 47% said they were looking for deals on clothing, 31% on home decor, 30% on tech, 27% on shoes, 17% on toys and 16% on furniture (Source: BlackFriday.com).
  • In 2018, 21% of shoppers said they planned to shop Black Friday in July sales (compared to 50% who said they'd shop Prime Day) (Source: BlackFriday.com)
  • EBay had its two best sales days ever for July during Black Friday in July 2017. (Source: Bloomberg)
  • Many Prime Day shoppers are scouting other retailers' Black Friday in July sales around Prime Day. Their top choices for 2019 are Walmart (44%), Target (40%), Best Buy (24%) and Macy's (18%) (Source: Bazaarvoice).
  • The top Black Friday in July categories consumers plan to shop in 2019 are apparel (51%), home goods and appliances (48%) and consumer electronics (44%) (Source: Bazaarvoice).
  • Even outside of Prime Day, Amazon is the top starting point for online shoppers: 44% of shoppers start at Amazon, 33% at search engines such as Google and only 10% at specific store websites like Walmart and Target. (Source: NPR/Marist)

Are you a member of the media with questions about Black Friday in July or Amazon Prime Day? Contact [email protected]

Created June 6, 2018, last updated July 22, 2019

About the Author

Kristin McGrath

Kristin is a savings and deals expert at BlackFriday.com. Her background in personal-finance journalism — along with her own enthusiasm for shopping and travel — drive her passion for helping consumers become savvy and informed bargain-hunters.

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