Amazon’s October Mega-Sales Event Wraps With Mixed Results
Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.
Amazon joined Target, Walmart, and other major retailers in rolling out holiday deals and seasonal promotions earlier than ever this year, with the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale wrapping up on Wednesday of this week. Amazon reported that more than 100 million items were sold from Amazon merchants throughout the two-day mega-sales event, though analysts said that the sale largely fell flat, with some claiming that it was mostly “just another day on Amazon,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale was marked by mixed results, with millions of products sold but reports that sales were nowhere near the performance trends seen during Amazon Prime Day earlier this year—or expected by Amazon merchants.
Best-selling categories during the event were apparel, home, toys, and Amazon devices.
Key differences between Amazon Prime Day and the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale across messaging and Amazon’s brand positioning likely contributed to the overall sales and performance trends seen during Amazon’s October event.
Tens of millions of Prime members shopped during the October mega-sales event, with millions of items sold throughout the 48-hour period across categories like apparel, electronics, home goods, household essentials, and toys. The most popular items were Macbook Airs, Peloton bikes, Casper pillows, and Shark hair dryers, with more than eight million toys sold in the U.S. alone. Research firm Numerator reported that the average order value during Amazon’s October sale was $46.68, a decline from $60.29 during Amazon Prime Day earlier this year. Numerator reported that 29 percent of Prime Early Access Sale shoppers used the sale to purchase holiday gifts. Twenty-three percent of shoppers reported they bought everyday items, while 15 percent said they used the sale to purchase big-ticket items at a discount. Over half of Amazon Prime Early Access shoppers shopped only at Amazon during the event, with 24 percent making a purchase at another retailer or website as well. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, financial services platform, Klover found that U.S. households spent “around 40 percent less” during the October Amazon sale compared to Amazon Prime Day in July.
Within PMG’s portfolio of brands on Amazon, the following trends were noted:
More big-name brands dominated their respective categories. When browsing the deals page, 10-25 percent discounts were common, as compared to smaller brands with large discounts trying to make a holiday push.
International markets underperformed compared to media performance across North America. Whether it was economic uncertainty impacting shoppers across the globe or deals not being perceived as competitive, nearly every market besides the U.S. was characterized by moderate or reduced demand.
While sales and demand were slightly below expectations, CPCs remained highly competitive, with generic keywords especially high compared to daily averages on the Amazon platform.
“It’s important to note that Amazon positioned the early October sale as a holiday promotion exclusively for Amazon Prime members rather than as a new customer acquisition opportunity for enticing new customers to sign up for Amazon Prime,” said Brian Edwards, client strategy senior lead at PMG. “This key difference impacted positioning, messaging, and the fact that Amazon didn’t have many ad placements promoting the event in the run-up to the sale, which likely contributed to sales and overall performance.”
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With the holiday shopping season just getting started, Amazon noted in a press release that customers will continue to enjoy deals and extra savings on the platform throughout the holidays. For retailers keeping a watchful eye on competitor promotions and deal days, the mixed results of Amazon Prime Early Access Sale offer unique insight into the state of the holiday shopper and further proof that brands must be ready to shift plans and adapt to unexpected economic and consumer signals in the months ahead.
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