This July will mark the fourth annual Amazon Prime Day, hardly a deep-seated tradition, even though the online shopping event grows in popularity every year. In 2017, sales reached an estimated $1 billion.
Prime Day is also starting to capture dollars spent historically during a more established shopping season: back-to-school.
Back-to-school shopping doesn't play as outsize a role in retailers' annual sales as the Q4 holiday season, but it's no small thing. We forecast that US retail ecommerce back-to-school sales will increase 15.4% in 2018 to $85.55 billion, representing 16.3% of full-year retail ecommerce sales.
RetailMeNot recently surveyed US internet users who are parents of school-aged children about Amazon Prime Day. It found that 91% of respondents who plan to shop on Amazon Prime Day said they would make a back-to-school purchase. Roughly one-third planned to buy up to 25% of back-to-school products during the event, while the same number expected to buy up to half. Shoppers estimated they would spend an average of $167 on Prime Day, of which $70 would go to back-to-school items.
Amazon Prime Day is also starting to seep into other retailers’ marketing efforts since most are eager to boost sales with limited-time offers during the slow summer months. According to RetailMeNot, the number of retailers offering deals on its platform increased from 27 in 2016 to 119 last year. Additionally, 60% are planning on targeting consumers with offers in advance of Prime Day, while 54% will run deals to coincide with the event.
Not everyone is in agreement as to when the back-to-school season starts, though. According to RetailMeNot, 84% of US retailers think it begins before or on Amazon Prime Day. And a study by Cardlytics found that even though 73% of back-to-school shoppers bought school times only in-store last year, Prime Day had the effect of shifting shoppers' spend up by nearly one month. In a 2017 AYTM Market Research survey, 42.6% of US internet users said they planned to start back-to-school shopping by the end of July.