Getting Primed for Amazon's Annual Shopping Event

It's like Black Friday in July

Author: Krista Garcia

April 13, 2018

With Amazon’s fourth annual Prime Day a few months away, speculation has begun about what’s in store for 2018.

While the exact date hasn’t been announced, it will likely fall on July 10 or 11 this year, according to One Click Retail. The deals started at 9pm on the eve of Prime Day in 2017. This year, the event might start even earlier—and extend into the following day. 

Other retailers, like Best Buy and Macy’s, piggybacked on Prime Day in 2017 and hosted sales of their own, and more could join in this July.

Overall, many can say Prime Day is successful: Sales last year reached an estimated $1 billion in the US. There were 34,000 promotions—up from 18,000 in 2016—and the average discount was 24% off. 

While Prime Day is about limited-time offers, it’s also about promoting Amazon Prime membership. eMarketer expects there will be 56.4 million US households with an Amazon Prime subscription in 2018. And by 2020, that number is projected to grow to 64.7 million. Prime members are very valuable to Amazon since they shop on the site more frequently and tend to be more affluent than the average American. 

“This self-created sales event is one way for the company to get Amazon Prime into your household," said eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu. "By offering steep discounts, Amazon's goal is to encourage new sign-ups for the Prime subscription service, which is an important part of the company’s business strategy to build loyalty and get people to spend more on the site.” 

“This year we can expect an even bigger day, with Amazon focused on promoting its own brand of electronic devices—like the Echo speakers, Fire TV and Kindle devices,” Liu added.

Indeed, Amazon's Echo devices are big sellers during Prime Day. The Echo Dot was a top seller last year, and there’s little doubt that Amazon’s range of speakers and smart-home devices will be heavily promoted this year, along with its private-label electronics accessories and apparel. In 2017 Amazon introduced Alexa Deals that were only available using the voice-activated assistant. The voice commerce market is still small, but has seen more uptake since last July. 

Many consumers look for deals on Prime Day. In fact, a September 2017 survey by IFTTT found that 8.6% of US internet users said it was the shopping day with the best deals, more than cited Thanksgiving (6.6%) but nowhere near the favorite, Black Friday (35.1%).