Did The Amazon Prime Early Access Sale Live Up To Expectations?

The inaugural event billed as the “second Prime Day”, took place from October 11-12, and the numbers are in.

Amazon held the first-ever Amazon Prime Early Access Sale in mid-October, aiming to kick off the fourth quarter of 2022 with a bang.

With markdowns on products from Apple, Sony, Keurig, Hasbro, Ninja, Laneige and Amazon’s own devices, the wide-ranging sale had discounts for every shopper and was geared for the holiday season.

In addition to being a major sales event from the e-commerce leader, the promotion bridged the gap between Prime Day in July and late November’s Black Friday. The October date also is worth noting, as Amazon chose the month for Prime Day 2020 after it was delayed due to the worldwide pandemic.

Regarding the Prime Early Access Sale’s performance, Amazon released a few statistics and fun facts regarding the sale:

  • Members ordered more than 100 million items from Amazon’s selling partners, most of which are small businesses and medium-sized businesses
  • More than 8 million toys in the U.S., including from the Toys Gift Guide, sold during the 48-hour event, including from top brands like LEGO, Melissa & Doug, and Squishmallows
  • Some of the best sellers from the Top 100 deals list were Macbook Air M1; Peloton Bike; Bose earbuds and headphones; Casper pillows and toppers; and Shark hair dryers, vacuums, and air purifiers

It appears Amazon considers the event a success, a likely indicator that the first Prime Early Access Sale won’t be the last. Although we’ll have to wait until next year for the official word, sentiment around the event rates as positive.

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.

Doug herrington, ceo of amazon worldwide stores

Others, however, have been a bit more bearish in their reporting of the performance.

So, where’s the truth? Did the “second Prime Day” as some deemed it live up to the moniker? Let’s dig in a little deeper.

No Prime Day, But Far Above Regular

In our opinion, the Prime Early Access Sale appears to be a success. Of course, the evaluation all depends on the benchmarks it’s judged against.

Anything is possible with Amazon events, but the “Second Prime Day” label proved to be too much to live up to. Analysts at Bank of America estimate $8 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) for the sales event. For comparison, July’s Prime Day rang in $10.7 billion.

However, some sellers experienced even greater success.

“Our game’s success is a testament to Amazon empowering unexpected entrepreneurs: two working moms who created a card game as a side hustle—which has ascended to a top seller in the Toys and Games category,” said Stacy Katz, co-creator of Not Parent Approved game. “Opportunities like Prime Early Access Sale have created a powerful boost to our business, as well as offering customers deep discounts and value. On the first day of the sale, we experienced a 500% increase in units sold!”

Given the newness of the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale and Prime Day’s massive success as a marquee sales event marked in red ink on the retail calendar, any expectations to match Prime Day were a bit far-fetched in the first place.

More Prime Day Than Black Friday

If the Prime Early Access Sale gets a 2023 sequel, one of the more valuable insights gathered can be centered on the purpose of the purchases. In official Amazon statements and promotional items, the “holiday” aspect has been repeatedly used.

With Amazon’s powerful might, the sale could be an attempt to make the Prime Early Access Sale the unofficial start date to the always-hectic holiday shopping season. Although Amazon’s report shows a massive amount of items bought from their toy guide, it appears a bulk of the purchases weren’t intended as presents.

According to a Numerator analysis of more than 44,000 Amazon Prime orders and 3,500 verified buyer surveys, only 29% of shoppers reported buying holiday gifts.

For sellers with products that perform better in the holiday season, it may cause an uptick in sales, but the event appears unlikely to add an extra month of products flying off the shelves.

Considering The Factors at Play

When juxtaposing the performance of the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale to Prime Day, we must also consider the conditions and caveats.

First, the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale faced an uphill battle when competing for attention in the way Prime Day has almost become its own holiday.

The Bank of America analysts noted Twitter mentions of the Prime Early Access Sale were down 70% relative to Prime Day. Like Sundays being a day for football or October 31st being for Halloween, Prime Day’s asserted itself as a time period dedicated to deals.

As the inaugural Prime Early Access Sale, the event inherently lacks the cache Prime Day earned with years of growth and investment. Prime Day is a day major brands and small Amazon sellers alike prepare for months ahead of time. Even though the exact date of Prime Day (July 12th) wasn’t announced by Amazon until two weeks before it kicked off, the expectation from sellers and shoppers alike is it happens in mid-July in years without a global pandemic to knock it off course.

The Prime Early Access Sale had a similar gap between the official announcement and the start date, but the lack of precedent made it difficult for smaller sellers to prepare accordingly and to build buzz among customers.

Via statista and Digital Commerce 360

Overall, the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale results appear promising

While sentiment seems to be knocking the event as it fell short of Prime Day, those expectations proved to be quite unfair. Remove any association with Prime Day and the promotion would be one for the records.

Also, the initial Prime Day was considered a significant success even though its numbers since then dwarf the first-ever Prime Day. If the Early Access Sale makes a return next year, the skyrocketing popularity of Prime Day since its first year should be taken into heavy consideration.

If we’ve learned anything with Amazon over the years, it’s that things almost always get bigger.

Cameron Stewart

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