Amazon Prime Day 2019: Record Growth for Amazon, Strong Growth for E-Commerce

8 August, 2019

Not only did Amazon shatter its own records a few weeks ago, announcing that Prime Day 2019 was the largest shopping event in Amazon’s history, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined, but sellers across the e-commerce landscape benefited from the unprecedented July shopping rush.

Whether these brands and retailers tried to capitalise on the shopping hordes descending on the Amazon marketplace, rode the broader e-commerce wave by pushing cross-channel digital marketing, or competed directly with Amazon by luring consumers away, Prime Day 2019 made quite an impact across the entire retail industry in two short days.

Some early statistics released by Amazon:

  • 175 million items purchased by Prime members, up from 100 million in 2018
  • $2 billion in sales driven by small- and medium-sized third-party (3P) marketplace sellers
  • The biggest event for Amazon devices ever, including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, Fire tablets and Kindles
  • Prime members from 18 countries shopped, double the number from its 2015 debut

Not bad for a five-year-old shopping event.

Though Prime Day has expanded over the years from 24 hours to 48, the hour-by-hour sales haven’t been diluted. At ChannelAdvisor, we’ve seen the average hourly GMV during Prime Day climb every year across our customer base.

Aside from the historic growth numbers reported by Amazon, here are a few stray observations we’ve made about this year’s online retail event…

Amazon Advertising Remains Essential

As we mentioned previously, the use of Amazon Advertising is increasingly important for brands and retailers to gain visibility on Amazon and increase sales.

Looking across all third-party sellers on ChannelAdvisor’s platform that sold on Prime Day in both 2018 and 2019 (the majority of which managed Amazon Advertising on their own), those that advertised outperformed those that didn’t advertise — with 50% higher year-over-year growth rates.

However, as illustrated below, the larger sellers were the heaviest advertisers with 60% of the first quartile (based on total GMV across the two days) advertising compared to less than 10% of the last quartile. And, as a group, the larger sellers outperformed the other quartiles.

Looking within the quartiles, advertisers outperformed non-advertisers in Quartiles 2, 3, and 4 in terms of year over year GMV growth. Interestingly, advertisers in Quartile 1 performed about the same as non-advertisers. This is contrary to what we normally see. But with all of the deals and noise of Prime Day, the high-volume deals themselves may have greater importance for the larger sellers.

A Rising Amazon Tide Lifts All Boats

How many emails did you get in the past two weeks from a brand or retailer advertising a sale?

As in previous years, competing retailers — both online and offline — continued to draft off the Prime Day buzz. Leading retailers and marketplaces promoted simultaneous sales for two days and, in some cases, much longer. And of course, eBay went viral last week for launching their own “Crash Sale” while taking a shot directly at Amazon.

On the second day of Prime Day, RetailMeNot counted over 300 unique retailers offering Prime Day-related promotions, compared to the 27 retailers it counted in 2016.

On a “same-store sales” basis (comparing customers with GMV on Prime Day in 2018 and 2019), the Walmart marketplace performed particularly well for ChannelAdvisor sellers.

Record-Breaking Prime Memberships Will Eventually Set Record-Breaking Revenue

It’s no coincidence that Amazon introduced a new stat this year at the top of their post-event press release: Prime members saved more than $1 billion throughout Prime Day.

One of the core benefits for Amazon to promote its Prime Day holiday is to drive new subscribers to the Prime program. Prime members spend more than double on Amazon each year compared to non-Prime members.

Last year, Amazon eclipsed 100 million Prime subscribers, and though it hasn’t released membership numbers in the wake of this year’s event, we can assume millions more are now on board. In other words, millions more households are now integrated into the famous Amazon flywheel business model and will continue to engage in a shopping cycle of massive selection, low prices and convenience for years to come.

So as successful as this two-day period was for Amazon and its many third-party sellers, much of the event’s continued impact will continue to reverberate in the months and years to come through more Prime purchases.

The Evolution of Holiday Shopping

Amazon has revolutionised the shopping landscape in countless ways over the years through its innovative programs, expanding fulfilment operations and singular commitment to consumer experience.

And now, the retail giant has successfully created something brand new and equally impressive: a new shopping season in mid-July.

Though another historic Prime Day is in the books, the eyes of the industry are already collectively turning to the next big shopping season on the horizon…

Don’t miss this chance to get a head start now. Because the next holiday season is sure to set records again — on Amazon and beyond.

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