The Complete History of Amazon Prime Day

Despite a brief existence, Amazon Prime Day has made a tremendous impact since its inception.

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Welcome to Prime Day season!

Ten years ago, Amazon Prime Day didn’t exist. Now, it’s one of the premier shopping days on the calendar. Bringing in billions of dollars, Amazon’s signature shopping holiday has been a wildly successful creation.

Much like Black Friday, Prime Day currently makes up an entire month and stretches beyond the confines of Amazon. Deals across industries pop up in the weeks leading up to Prime Day, hoping to cash in on customers looking for steals.

The success of Prime Day has mirrored Amazon’s own success, with a rapid rise that only continues to climb. With a seemingly endless potential on the horizon, let’s take a look at Prime Day over the years.

Since the first-ever Prime Day in 2015, the amount of Prime Subscribers has more than tripled. An increase in subscribers means an increase in Prime Day participants, which leads to even more sales that can benefit more sellers!

An instant success, Prime Day has grown exponentially since its inception.

In just a few years, Amazon has turned a special event to celebrate a landmark anniversary into one of the most preeminent shopping days in the world.

To celebrate its arrival, it’s worth looking at how the eCommerce mega-event has evolved since its inception.

Prime Day 2015

The first-ever Amazon Prime Day touted more deals than Black Friday.

The first-ever Prime Day took place on July 15, 2015, to commemorate 20 years since Amazon.com went live and 10 years of Prime. Lasting 24 hours, the first-ever Prime Day features participation from 9 countries, including the U.S., UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.

Sales outpaced the previous Black Friday, which was the biggest Black Friday to date. Customers purchased hundreds of thousands of Amazon devices, furthering their reach with items such as the Echo, Kindle, and Fire TV Stick. For many, this sales event introduced Amazon Alexa, a voice-activated virtual assistant AI, into households worldwide.

Amazon sellers who utilized Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) experienced an unprecedented amount of sales, as unit sales grew nearly 300% worldwide.

Prime Day 2016

After an astonishingly successful debut, the hype over the sales spectacle only grew for its sequel. The original 9 countries participated yet again and added Belgium to its reach.

Despite some users reporting checkout issues, likely a result of the massive influx of consumer traffic and consumers checking out at such a rampant rate, Prime Day 2016 was a success of epic proportions. 

Over the course of the record-setting sales day…

  • over 2 million toys were purchased
  • more than 1 million pairs of shoes were bought
  • 200,000+ headphones were sold on the platform

After selling 24,000 Instant Pot pressure cookers in 2015, that number ballooned to 215,000 in the same 24-hour span. Prime subscribers purchased an average of one Alexa-exclusive deal per second.

Prime Day 2017

How do you follow up on the sensation of the first two Prime Days? You expand it from 24 hours to 30 hours. All the while running one-day sales specials across Amazon categories in the five days before Prime Day officially began on July 11th. 

Did the extended length put a damper on the excitement? Of course not! 

More new Prime members joined on Prime Day 2017 than any single day in Amazon history to this point. This statistic highlights the mutually beneficial brilliance of Prime Day, as it rewards its customers while simultaneously promoting the Prime service.

Partially thanks to the record-setting sales event, the Prime subscriber base grew to the 100 million milestone in 2017.

In 2017, the number of countries participating in the Prime Day grew, with Mexico and China joining the fun. Orders on the Amazon app more than doubled the 2016’s mobile orders, marking a turning point in how customers shop.

Prime Day 2018

After Prime Day 2017 proved the sales event didn’t need to be confined to just one day, it was expanded to 36 hours and was the most extensive global shopping day and a half in Amazon history.

Small and medium-sized Amazon businesses exceed $1.5 billion in sales. After acquiring Whole Foods in the previous year, Amazon included the grocery store with Prime deals for the first time ever.

Continuing to innovate, Prime Day 2018 saw the debut of Prime Day Launches for new product launches and Unboxing Prime Day events in select cities. Unboxing Prime Day saw local celebrations in certain cities, with special entertainment. The Unboxing event in New York saw a live concert headlined by Ariana Grande. 

However, expanding to grocery stores and holding concerts by pop superstars didn’t come at the expense of Prime Day’s signature lightning deals and mega markdowns.

Customers purchased more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty, PCs and Computer Accessories, Apparel and Kitchen products. Prime members purchased over 300,000 Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cookers in the 36 hours.

Prime Day 2019

Amazon Music got in on the Prime Day celebration with a concert from music superstar Taylor Swift.

For the first time ever, Prime Day became a full two-day event, lasting 48 hours on July 15th and 16th. The list of participating countries doubled from the original 9, with 18 unique countries included.

Sales exceeded the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Over 175 million items were purchased and Amazon devices such as the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick 4K saw top-selling deals.

The 48-hour event was even headlined by 10-time Grammy award winning superstar Taylor Swift.

An estimated $7.16 billion worth of goods were sold on Prime Day 2019.

The massive amount of goods sold shows just how far Amazon has come in only a few years, with sales and Prime subscribers expanding so rapidly.

Prime Day 2020

Better late than never, Amazon Prime Day kicks off today in place of the regular mid-July date due to complications resulting from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

More than ever, Amazon has emphasized the commitment to helping small businesses as they continue to recover from the unforeseen consequences of COVID-19. Amazon has offered $10 credit to use on Prime Day when members spend at least $10 on items sold by select small businesses within the platform. 

Prime Day 2020 will surely be yet another enormous worldwide sales event. The mid-October start date will undoubtedly be interesting to see how it stacks up with the usual July deals. Industry experts forecast Prime Day 2020 to crush the competition yet again.

Prime Day taking place so close to Black Friday will undoubtedly steal some of the thunder from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has the potential to change what we know of the holiday shopping season.

As traditional retailers face struggles presented by COVID-19, ecommerce appears poised to dominate this holiday season. With an extended shopping void due to the delayed Prime Day, the appetite for deals could be at an all-time high.

Where does it go from here? There’s no telling!

As Amazon continues to expand its reach, there truly is no limit to how expansive Prime Day can be! Who would’ve thought that a Taylor Swift concert would headline Prime Day? Or that Prime Day would be in grocery stores, as it is with Amazon-owned Whole Foods?

The possibilities are endless, and the Prime subscriber base continues to expand in the U.S. and around the world. 

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When Is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

According to reports, Amazon Prime Day 2020 has a start date at long last. The biggest day in eCommerce is slated to last 48 hours, starting on October 13th.

The long-awaited signature shopping holiday from Amazon typically occurs in July but experienced a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Prime Day 2020 will kick off an absolutely loaded Q4 in mid-October.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 was the largest shopping event in Amazon history. Lasting 48 hours, Amazon offered over 1 million deals leading to over 175 million items sold, more than the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

With just a few weeks to prepare, sellers should take all possible precautions to handle an influx of sales, such as ensuring inventory is adequately stocked and replenishing the warehouse as sales. Sellers who are not on Page One for desired search results pages have a little bit of time to increase their organic rank through promotions, PPC advertising, or other methods to boost visibility and take advantage of the inevitable increase in traffic.

What Does A Q4 Prime Day Mean?

The mid-October start date beats other retailers to the punch on the upcoming holiday season. In an ordinary year, Black Friday unofficially kicks off the holiday shopping season. However, Prime Day will steal some of Black Friday’s thunder as customers flock to the Amazon marketplace looking to take advantage of the massive markdowns and limited-time Lightning Deals.

While traditional retail suffers from COVID restrictions and customers opt for online shopping, a hectic holiday season awaits. During these holidays, sellers will face unique challenges with tremendous opportunities.

Sellers who are able to successfully navigate through the potential roadblocks in these unprecedented times will reap the immense benefits. As this holiday season becomes more imminent, it’s as critical as ever to have the data in your hands.

Follow us on Facebook and YouTube to stay up-to-date as we march toward Amazon Prime Day 2020 like no other. We’ll keep you posted with the latest Amazon news, along with tips and insights to make the most of Q4!

Amazon Officially Delays Prime Day 2020

As speculated, Amazon has shelved its signature summertime shopping holiday for a later date than usual this year. 

The annual e-commerce mega-event typically kicks off in mid-July, so the cornoravirus complications causing the postponement comes as no surprise. Amazon did not provide a replacement date for Prime Day, only giving away that “This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual.” via an Amazon spokesperson. Despite an officially announced date, rumors persist that Prime Day will occur sometime in September of this year.

Prime Day started in 2015 with heavily discounted products available exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers to celebrate Amazon’s 20th birthday. Since the inception of Prime Day, it has rivaled Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the calendar’s most massive commerce days.

In 2019, Prime Day extended to 48 hours, with 18 participating countries. The sales extravaganza spurred over 175 million items purchased, surpassing totals from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined.

Prime Day Over The Years

Prime Day sales per year, from Statista

With this immense influx of sales from the over 150 million Amazon Prime subscribers, Prime Day has been an incredible opportunity for sellers to extend their reach and boost their sales. Like the holiday season, it requires unique planning for sellers as they gear up to optimize their chance to make the most of the sales spectacular.

All sellers should circle the eventual date of Prime Day once Amazon announces the new date. In the meantime, we recommend penciling in September for the expected Prime Day 2020.

Prime Day always presents a humongous opportunity for sellers to take advantage of the sales promotion and deep discounts.

For sellers, Prime Day prep begins well before the event kicks off. Be sure to optimize marketing and inventory planning to get peak value as a result of the additional exposure.

Be sure to stay posted to our blog! We’ll keep you updated and informed on the latest happenings surrounding Prime Day and other aspects of selling on Amazon.

Product and market research is absolutely critical to ensuring you’ve got the edge on your competition all of the time. But, the importance of that edge amplifies during times of increased sales.

Make sure you’re the most informed seller in your market by utilizing tools like Market Intelligence and Competitor Intelligence to have the upper hand and dominate your market!

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