Prime Day 2020: The Boost to Retail We Need?

With Prime Day, Amazon has generally managed to create an ecommerce spike out of the relatively slow summer buying period. This year however, Prime Day is a pre-Halloween phenomenon, taking place October 13-14. Holding Prime Day so late could create an autumn shopping bonanza that carries through to Christmas. At Quantcast we have been following the phenomenon of Prime Day since its inception in 2015 and there are a few things that retailers and marketers need to keep in mind:

  • A much anticipated retail event: Prime Day is now not just on the minds of retailers looking to stay competitive, it’s a much anticipated retail holiday to shoppers. Quantcast data reveals that shoppers have been looking for Prime Day throughout the COVID period. Last year the search for it began only in the two weeks leading up to the actual days in July. This year, shoppers have been looking for the term “prime day” since March.
Prime Day Searches 2019 vs 2020
  • The Halo Effect:  While at first glance it might seem that Prime Day is primarily an Amazon specific phenomenon, each year more retailers are getting in on the action and more shoppers are taking advantage of sales, which means all retailers benefit. eMarketer did a survey of Prime Day shoppers and found that 65% looked at other retailers and 40% actually purchased from a retailer other than Amazon. In 2019, Quantcast data showed that large retailers saw a 68% bump in sales during Prime Day, while niche ones had a 28% lift.

    Quantcast 2019 Prime Day data also revealed that Overstock.com, Brads Deal, Offers.com and Daily Sales were among the top sites visited on Prime Day, indicating shoppers are looking around for the best offers. With COVID-19 economic concerns, expect this kind of deal scrutiny to only increase this year.

  • Shoppers Are a Broad Demographic: Amazon is such a huge player in the ecommerce space that its shoppers have become reflective of all of the US.  Over 100 million Americans are now Prime Members, a reach of a whopping 62% of all households. Quantcast data shows that the age of shoppers on Prime Day last year was pretty average across generations with a slight uptick amongst 30 – 34 year olds. What was notable was that Prime Day shoppers were 67% more likely than the average shopper to have attended graduate school and 95% more likely to have a household income of $150K or more. These are likely to be the cohort who are working from home, increasing their reliance on ecommerce due to COVID-19 — and have high discretionary incomes.
  • Product Mix Has Diversified: Prime Day got a bad rap in its first few years for selling older model electronics, especially TVs, and having stock issues as so many products had limited inventory. By 2019, the products mix on sale was more diverse and inventories were flush. Last year electronics still dominated, with 31% of all sales, according to Quantcast data, and household essentials were bought by 22% of shoppers. More interesting, 21% of products sold were apparel and shoes and 20% were health and beauty. With COVID-19 creating concerns about the safety of physical retail in these categories, we could see high growth rates here for Prime Day 2020.
  • Quality and Retail Brand Count:  While not surprisingly, price was the most significant factor for buyers in choosing a retailer other than Amazon, cited by 20% in an eMarketer study, 17% of buyers noted “quality/a more verified seller” and 17% said that it was a “brand/product not available on Amazon.” 
  • It’s an Impulse Opportunity: Last Prime Day, 35% of shoppers reported that they bought something they had not planned on, according to eMarketer. Retailers are looking for a way to get consumers to spend again, and Prime Day will likely get people back in the buying mood. Once they are there, it’s up to marketers to use display advertising to entice them with new and relevant products they might have not thought of.
  • Prediction: Prime Day 2020 is the Kickoff to Holiday Spending: During Prime Day 2019, 22% of shoppers bought a gift for someone else. Now both this mega sale and what Quantcast has seen as a COVID-19 ecommerce bump are colliding to create a much earlier start to the holiday season. While retail overall has suffered due to the economy and the impact of lockdowns, since March we have seen a 23% increase in online traffic across industries. Now, we need to say a big “thank you” to Amazon and a “go get ‘em” to all other retailers as we celebrate an extended holiday period that will hopefully bring prosperity to all.