Amazon Prime Day Sales Deliver Cyber Monday Results

On July 16-17th, Amazon held its fourth annual Prime Day, a shopping event that is fast replacing Black Friday in popular opinion and creating a draw of its own. Edison Trends analyzed the 36 hours of shopping mania and found that Amazon clocked 2.5x its usual sales per day. Additionally, sales of Amazon’s own products sent buzz around the world that resulted in a 28x sales jump for Echo products, further cementing Amazon’s presence in every home.

Edison Trends also found that Prime Day saw electronic items sold the most, beating books, which usually is the most-sold item on Amazon.

Figure 1. Which product category elicited the most sales during Amazon Prime Day?

Figure 1. On the left, top product categories purchased on Amazon from 3pm to midnight EDT on July 16 during Prime Day sales. On the right, top product categories purchased on Amazon during the month before Prime Day sales.

Amazon Prime Day had the effect of driving customers to buy different products than they usually do. While typically, books are the top Amazon item category at about 14% of purchases, from 3 pm to midnight EDT on July 16, Electronics & Accessories ruled at 23% of items bought. However, while the Electronics & Accessories category made up a much larger share of the Amazon pie than usual (about 110% greater than it was in the month prior), most other categories saw overall declines on Prime Day in terms of what share of the purchases they made up, compared to their usual from the past 30 days. The electronic growth could be attributed to many reasons; great deals, people waiting to purchase electronics in anticipation of Prime Day, or as we will see later, breakthrough sales of Echo devices.

Figure 2. What was the trend in number of buyers brought in by Amazon Prime Day?

Figure 2. The trend of unique buyers making a purchase during each day, converted to a 0-100 scale.

The number of unique buyers increased significantly when the sale opened on the 16th. On the 17th, sales exceeded the peak amount that Amazon saw on Cyber Monday of November 2017.

Figure 3a-3b. How did sales orders change before and during Amazon Prime Day?

Figure 3a. Data shows the trend of Amazon purchase orders placed by day, converted to a 0-100 scale, between August 1, 2017 and July 18, 2018.

The opening day of Prime Day proved to be one of Amazon's best sales days of the year, even though Prime Day didn't start until 3pm EDT. The number of orders was an estimated 200% of their average for the previous month, and revenue was 280% of non-sale day revenue. July 16 pulled in about as many orders as on November 27 2017, Cyber Monday, still estimated to be their peak sales day of the past 12 months, and July 17 exceeded Cyber Monday.

Figures 3b and 3c. On the left, estimated daily sales order volume by the hour leading up to, and including, the opening of Prime Day sales. On the right, estimated sales order volume by the minute during the first 15 minutes of Prime Day sales.

The buying started at 3pm EDT, with nearly twice as many orders, and over twice as much money spent, than during the previous hour. Peak buying occurred from 9pm to 11pm EDT. Though Amazon's website reportedly started to have issues in certain regions at 3:04 EDT, sales did not drop -- however, we can't know exactly how much higher they might have risen if there had been no site difficulties.

Figure 4. How did Amazon Echo product sales perform on Prime Day?

Figure 4. Data shows the estimated daily sales of Amazon Echo items, converted to a 0-100 scale.

Amazon Echo sales took a large leap on Prime Day, climbing to about 28x the average number sold per day over the last month. Amazon has pushed the Echo/Alexa ecosystem heavily (see our recent research about Amazon Echo sales here) and Prime Day sales affirm that Amazon is beating the competition in the home assistant category.

Figure 5. How did Amazon Prime Day impact Amazon Prime trial signups?

Figure 5. Amazon Prime trial signups refer to the number of users initiating an Amazon Prime trial subscription, converted to a 0-100 scale.

Edison Trends’ analysis indicates that Prime Day 2018 resulted in a surge of new signups for Amazon Prime, peaking on July 16 at over 2.5 times the previous month's average. It is a big win for Amazon as signing up customers for the Prime subscription service ($119 per year) is said to be one of the driving reasons behind Prime Day event.

*Figures on graphs have been normalized. A conversion factor has been applied so that the highest sales day for each graph is given the value of 100, and all other days are adjusted by that factor, maintaining the same relationship to each other as before. e.g. 20% in a chart means ‘20% of the sales of the peak period’ (100%).

*The data shown is based on a sample of anonymized and aggregated e-receipts from millions of consumers in the United States.