Was Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale a bellwether event for the retail industry?

October 17, 2022

Amazon.com last week held its second Prime Day event of the year and, as it turned out, the sales promotion may not have been the kickoff to the holidays that the retail and technology giant was hoping for.

The Prime Early Access sale two-day event, as its name suggests, focused on giving Amazon subscribers a jumpstart on buying Christmas gifts. The company’s Top 100 deals list includes its own devices as well as products from Apple, Bose, Casper, Drybar, Laneige and Shark.

“Our Prime Early Access Sale was a great kickoff to the holidays, and the best part is that it’s only the beginning. Customers will find millions of must-have deals throughout the season that will help them continue to save money on gifts for loved ones,” said Doug Herrington, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Stores, in a statement. “We know our employees, vendors, and selling partners show incredible dedication to delivering a great experience during the holidays, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to serving customers during this special time of the year.”

Amazon, as it has in the past, touted the role that the sale played in driving sales for its third-party marketplace sellers. The company said that “more than 100 million items” were purchased from marketplace sellers, although it did not release sales figures to quantify the impact that the promotion had on revenues.

Analysts at Bank of America estimated that the sale generated $8 billion in gross merchandise value, down from the $10.7 billion that Amazon raised during July’s Prime Day event.

Numerator found that the value of the average basket was $46.68, down from $60.29 in July. It found that the top five items purchased were Amazon Gift Cards, Amazon Photo Projects, Mellisa & Doug toys, Simple Joys by Carter’s clothing and Echo Dot third generation devices.

The most frequently purchased categories were found to be household essentials (29 percent), health and beauty (27 percent), apparel and shoes (26 percent), toys and games (23 percent) and consumer electronics (23 percent).

Fifteen percent said that they bought larger ticket products that they would only buy while on sale, Twenty-three percent said they bought everyday items that they would have purchased normally.

Twenty-nine percent in Numerator’s research took advantage of the sale to buy holiday gifts. Of those, 69 percent completed less than half of their holiday shopping. Ninety-five percent said they would likely shop on Amazon again for more holiday purchases.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see the results of Amazon’s Prime Early Access event as a bellwether for the company’s 2022 holiday season performance or that of the larger retail industry? How is this event and others run by Target, Walmart, et al likely to affect retailers’ pricing and promotions after Halloween?


“This may be yet another example of Amazon ruining it for everyone through overkill.”


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