Amazon’s New Prime Day Could Make for a Busy October

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Amazon’s New Prime Day Could Make for a Busy October

By Thad Rueter - 09/23/2020
Amazon’s New Prime Day Could Make for a Busy October
The pandemic delayed this year’s Prime Day, which in 2019 took place in July.

Better late than never, right?

Amazon reportedly will hold its delayed Prime Day 2020 on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Wednesday, Oct. 14, according to outlets that are basing the news on internal Amazon emails. Amazon offered no immediate comment. That said, the e-commerce operator presumably wants to avoid putting Prime Day too close to Black Friday and dilute the power of both marketing and retail events.

The pandemic — the early stages of which brought inventory and shipping problems to Amazon and other retailers — delayed this year’s Prime Day, which in 2019 took place in July. Reports in May had Amazon holding this year’s Prime Day in September, during the back-to-school shopping season, but that obviously did not happen.

Last year’s Prime Day resulted in more than $7 billion in sales.

The reason Amazon created Prime Day in 2015 was to boost revenues during the summer, when shopping tends to dial down. Now Prime Day stands pretty much as its own ecosystem within the larger universe of Amazon.

Prime Day not only provides a showcase for Amazon and its popular loyalty program. It also inspires imitations from rivals. According to RetailMeNot, in fact, more than 300 retailers last year offered their own promotions to counter Prime Day and take advantage of the shopping mindset Amazon’s event encourages. 

As for Amazon’s Black Friday sales — this year’s holiday shopping season will take on even more importance thanks to the pandemic — they are set to begin on Oct. 26, according to a report from Tamebay, a news source for Amazon’s marketplace sellers. Those earliest deals would come a full month before the real Black Friday, Nov. 27.

“This means that Amazon will pretty much have sales events running for two entire months,” Tamebay noted. “We’re still expecting Prime Day to fall in the first week of October and barely a three weeks later the Amazon Early Black Friday Deals will kick off.”

Indeed, Prime Day could serve as the spark for this year's holiday shopping season. 

"Delaying Prime Day means it will hit right at the beginning of this holiday shopping season, potentially moving in on Cyber Monday’s slice of the holiday pie," said Sara Spivey, chief marketing officer at mobile engagement firm Braze. "With economic uncertainty looming over consumers, the coveted deals of Prime Day will mark the new unofficial start to the holiday shopping season."

Prime Day this year would follow a robust second quarter for Amazon, which reported that net sales increased 40% to $88.9 billion in the second quarter. Grocery sales were also a bright spot during this time period. Amazon increased grocery delivery capacity by over 160% and tripled grocery pickup locations to support customers not wanting to shop in stores during COVID-19. The result was that grocery sales tripled in the second quarter when compared with the same period last year.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon, is No. 24.