Prime Day sends strong signal on strength and potential of e-commerce
Posted July 19, 2016
This year’s Amazon Prime Day smashed its single-day sales record from a year ago, sending the clear message that online shopping is tracking to become the main method of retail commerce.
Prime Day is when shoppers with Amazon Prime memberships can take advantage of special sales offered by the pioneering online retailer. First launched in 2015 for the company's 20th anniversary, it was brought back this year on July 12.
Entrepreneur.com said Prime Day is more than an anniversary. It's an event that Amazon uses to remind its competition in physical retail and e-commerce of its dominance in a fast-changing industry.
In 2015, Amazon accounted for 60 percent of all U.S. online sales growth, according to internetretailer.com. Other factors expected to drive up e-commerce sales outside of Amazon's popularity include a stronger economy, retailers gaining repeat customers and a desire to wed offline and online retail to "maximize efficiency," with U.S. online sales set to pass the $530 billion mark by 2020, it continued.
"If it weren't for Prime, Amazon might have been just the name of a river," writes Ben Fox Rubin for cnet.com, along with calling it "the king of e-commerce." Since it's launch in 2005, The Prime service has inspired its rivals Walmart and eBay to try similar membership programs, he added.
But it's difficult to compete with Amazon's locked-in customer base. While other retailers such as Walmart and J.C. Penney launched their own sales and free shipping to compete with Prime Day, "there’s a massive difference between playing in Amazon’s sandbox and kicking dirt in its face," writes Jason Ankeny for RetailDIVE.
"Amazon alone has all the pieces in place to make an event like Prime Day work," Ankey wrote.
The day after this year's Prime Day, Amazon said that it was the company's biggest sales day ever, with orders surging worldwide by more than 60 percent when compared to 2015’s Prime day, reported NBC News. Meanwhile, U.S. Amazon sales were up by more than 50 percent.
However, CNBC.com noted that Amazon declined to share how many people signed up for Prime.
Amazon’s reported earnings are closer to analyst expectations of this year’s Prime Day doubling last year’s sales, possibly even approaching $1 billion, Techcrunch noted.
Despite its success, the Amazon brand can't overcome some of the inherent problems of online shopping, expressed by customers who took to Twitter to vent about Prime Day product selection and technical issues.
And then there were some truly bizarre items up for grabs, often tweeted through the hashtag #PrimeDayFail.
TechCrunch noted that consumer satisfaction was up from last year’s Prime Day, according to more than 4 million tracked social engagements. Conveyed sadness over the event dropped from 50 percent last year to 38 percent this year, with reported happiness jumping from 23 percent to 31 percent.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow her on Twitter at @Sarahsonofander.