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How did Amazon change its Prime Day strategy in 2018?

By Chris Elliott

Prime Day 2018 surpassed all of Amazon’s previous sales records, the third consecutive Prime Day to do so. Amazon revealed they signed up more people to Amazon Prime on 16 July 2018 than any previous day, which is where the real value of the day is for the retailer.

Prior to Prime Day, Amazon promised the greatest deals on its own products, which it largely delivered on. This led to its Fire TV Stick not only being the best-selling Amazon device, but the best-selling product across the world on Amazon.

In the US specifically, “July 17 was the biggest sales day for smart home devices in Amazon history, with over a million devices sold” according to Amazon. Home security company Ring, which Amazon acquired in February 2018, had it biggest ever sales day on Amazon on July 16 with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro selling out.

Amazon achieved all of this in spite of increased competition from rivals such as Best Buy and Walmart. Target launched a high profile sale to challenge Amazon which led to the retailer declaring that 17 July 2018 was “the highest single day of traffic and sales”.

Amazon also faced technical issues as Prime Day launched, leading to some shoppers being unable to access the website. However, these issues were not widespread and were resolved quickly.


Prime Day Deals Analysis

Brand View has analyzed the number of deals available on the “Prime Day Deals” page throughout Prime Day 2018. This year Prime Day ran for 36 hours, the longest Prime Day yet.

Just after 12pm, when Prime Day began, the number of deals began to rise dramatically to a peak at 6.05pm. The number of deals available overnight was much lower, as fewer shoppers were likely to be browsing, although this was still significantly greater than the number of deals available prior to event starting.

As with 2017, there were two peaks in the number of deals on 17 July. One peak mid-morning (10am) and another again at 6pm. This is consistent with Amazon introducing new deals in the late afternoon to target shoppers returning from work that evening.



Prime Day 2018 saw Amazon increase the number of deals in its smaller categories. During the last three Prime Days, the categories with most deals were Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry, Home, Office & Garden and Technology.

In 2016, these categories accounted for 61 percent of all deals. This fell in 2017 to 57.7 percent and fell again to 55.4 percent this year.

Home, Office & Garden was again the most popular Prime Day category as it accounted for 25.9 percent of all deals, slightly up from 25.6 percent in 2017. The proportion of Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry promotions fell from 15.3 percent in 2017 to 13.1 percent in 2018. Sports & Leisure grew noticeably from 6.3 to 8.6 percent of all promotions. DIY, Tools & Hardware and Toys & Games also grew significantly.



Looking at the timing of available deals between 6pm 16 July 2018 and 2.55am 18 July 2018, and comparing to the relevant days in 2017 and 2016, we can see that there were more deals available in 2018 at all times. This was also true of the Home, Office & Garden category.

However, due to the extended sale hours, the number of promotions on the second day (17 July) fell below 2017 in the Technology and Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry categories. Albeit, during peak-time (6pm) these categories had a significantly greater number of deals available versus 2017.

Amazon adjusted its strategy on the Entertainment category with a more consistent number of deals available across the sales day. Also the peak in deals was later in 2018 (8pm) than 2017 (6pm), this is Amazon targeting shoppers who are looking for Entertainment deals after they have come in from work and now have the time to relax.



How did Prime Day differ from last year?

Amazon delivered on its promise for the biggest Prime Day ever achieving record sales, both in general and on its own devices. As we have discovered, it also offered a greater number of deals across a greater period of time.

The extension of the day from 30 hours to 36 hours meant Amazon had to adapt its strategy, meaning 6pm on the first day of the sale was when the greatest number of deals were available. Because of this peak, some categories saw fewer deals during the peak hours on 17 July than in previous years.

Amazon also increased the diversity of its deals, the DIY, Tools & Hardware category grew, compared to 2017, possibly to compete with Home Depot and Lowe’s which ran sales of their own. It also expanded the number of deals in the Toys & Games category possibly to exploit the gap left by the collapse of Toys ‘R’ Us.

With greater and more diversified deals, Amazon achieved its main goal of Prime Day; to sign record numbers of people up to Amazon Prime.

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