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Prime Day 2017 postgame report: Amazon Prime Day sales up 32 percent

by Ken Cassar - April 25, 2018

Image credit: Maarten van den Heuvel (via Unsplash)

Amazon announced yesterday that global Prime Day sales were up 60 percent over the previous year. But this, as is often the case with Amazon, begged as many questions as it answered, which is why we’re here to provide the deeper insights that you’ve come to know and love Slice Intelligence for.

US Prime Day sales increased by 32 percent

When we focus on US sales, take Amazon Marketplace (third party) and first party sales into account, combine the day before Prime Day with Prime Day, and compare against the comparable days in 2016, we see that sales increased by 32 percent. This is well above our 20 percent forecast that felt aggressive just days ago.

Prime Day’s early start didn’t outshine the main event

Amazon made the bet that it could expand the success of Prime Day by making it longer. Our data reveals that despite the early release of deals to Echo owners, and starting the “holiday” on July 10, July 11 was Amazon’s biggest US sales day ever. Sales on July 11 were 31 percent higher than last years’ Prime Day, and 33 percent higher than Cyber Monday 2016. Overall sales for the two days were up 32 percent, so we can roughly attribute one point of growth to the six-hour extension (or three for us fools on the East coast). Another way to think about this is to look at sales by hour for July 10 and 11 and compare them with the same 48 hours on July 11 and 12 2016. We see a modest acceleration of sales, but clearly the biggest gains over 2016 came in the wee hours of July 11 (12am to 2am).

Amazon’s own products thrived

As we’ve seen on Prime Days past, the biggest winners were Amazon’s own products. Amazon’s products accounted for four of the top 10 items sold, and 63 percent of unit sales across all items in the top 10. The magical Instant Pot 7-in-1 Cooker appeared atop the list of non-Amazon products again this year, which will undoubtedly drive even more growth in the fledgling 7-in-1 Instant Pot cookbook canon (none of which made the top 10, sadly). 23 and Me, the DNA testing company, placed two products in the top 10 and we saw a CPG item, Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers, in the top 10 for the first time thanks to aggressive pricing.

For those looking for something negative…

Amazon has historically used Prime Day to drive purchase of new products and to accelerate the growth of new platforms. On Prime Day, we were looking closely to see how Amazon Prime Now, Amazon’s two-hour delivery service, would perform. Results were disappointing. Prime Now grew by 21 percent, quite a bit lower than overall Amazon growth, and accounted for less than one percent of sales on Prime Day. We were also eager to see how Amazon’s new Echo Show would perform on its first big stage, but the results fell short our expectations as it didn’t crack the top 100.

Closing thoughts

If there was any doubt, it ought to be brushed aside: Amazon Prime Day is a blockbuster sales event that is here to stay. It compels us to shop on a day that we really ought to be reading a book on the beach. Clearly, it’s a great opportunity for Amazon to push its own products, likely at a loss, but it is also an opportunity for brands to drive sales spikes at a time of year when sales spikes are hard to come by, especially in a channel that everyone needs to figure out. Prime Day is, in essence, a microcosm of Amazon itself.

About this data

With a panel of 5 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for the NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.