How did this year’s Amazon Prime Day sales compare to previous years’?
Figure 1a: Chart shows estimated sales in the first 24 hours of Amazon Prime Day compared year over year, 2017 through 2019, according to Edison Trends. Data have been scaled so that the highest hourly spend is set to 100. The time periods represented are: July 10, 2017 ET at 9pm through July 11, 2017 at 9pm ET, July 16, 2018 at 3pm ET through July 17, 2018 at 3pm ET, and July 15, 2019 at 3am ET through July 16, 2019 at 3am ET. The data for this analysis comes from over 80,000 online transactions.
Amazon has started its Prime Day sales at a different time of day each of the last three years; Prime Day 2017 started at 9pm ET; in 2018, it started at 3pm ET, and in 2019 at 3am ET. Unsurprisingly, these time differences have led to very different spending patterns in the initial hours of the sale. 2018 had the best customer spending in the first seven hours, given that it started at 3pm ET in 2018 versus 9pm in 2017 and 3am 2019. In fact, 2019’s start time led to a much lower start than the two previous years — spending during the first 7 hours of 2019 was 45% lower than in 2018 and 6% lower than in 2017.
However, once we look past the first seven hours, spending during the first 24 hours of Prime Day 2019 eclipses spending during the first 24 hours of the previous two years — perhaps suggesting that the earlier start time was ultimately effective. Spend peaked at around 1pm ET for 2019, around 5pm ET in 2018, and 10pm ET in 2017.
Figure 1b: To compensate for the different durations of Amazon Prime Day sales year over year, chart shows year-over-year increase in sales based on estimated average hourly consumer spend, according to Edison Trends. Data have been scaled so that the highest average hourly spend is set to 100. The time periods represented are: July 10, 2017 ET at 9pm through July 12, 2017 at 3am ET, July 16, 2018 at 3pm ET through July 18, 2018 at 3am ET, and July 15, 2019 at 3am ET through July 17, 2019 at 3am ET. The data for this analysis comes from over 120,000 online transactions, in the U.S.A.
Prime Day keeps growing in length, from 30 hours in 2017 to 36 in 2018 and, now, 48 hours in 2019. Since the changing length of the event makes it difficult to compare one year to another, rather than examine total customer spend, here we average customer spend per hour for each year. Doing so reveals just how much of a success Prime Day 2019 was. In 2019, customers spent an average of 35% more per hour of the sale than in 2018, and 55% more than in 2017.