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How the return of Amazon’s fall Prime promotion impacts retail

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Prime Big Deal Days
Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days is coming in October (image: Amazon).

Amazon is once again hosting a fall version of its Prime Day sales extravganza, and retailers should pay close attention to what this means for the state of the industry.

The e-tail colossus is hosting an October 2023 shopping promotion called Prime Big Deal Days for members of its Prime paid subscription service across 19 countries including the U.S. and Canada. Amazon debuted its fall version of the annual Prime Day 48-hour sales extravaganza (mostly held in July) in October 2022.

Here are three retail industry signals Amazon’s decision to host a fall Prime Day-like event is sending:

Shoppers like major sales promotions

According to Adobe Analytics, consumers spent  $12.7 billon online during the July 11-12, 2023 Prime Day event in the U.S., representing 6.1% growth YoY, and setting a new record for Prime Day. This data represents all U.S. e-commerce activity during Prime Day, including competing promotions offered by Walmart and Target.

While the fall 2022 Prime promotional sale had lower overall awareness and spending than the summer Prime Day 2022 sales extravaganza, according to a final recap from Numerator, it still clearly generated enough revenue to make it worthwhile for Amazon to run it again (under a different name).

The numbers paint a clear picture – shoppers respond to limited-time online and omnichannel sales extravaganzas.

‘Black Friday’ starts in October

Once again, Amazon is positioning its fall Prime sales event as an “early” holiday promotion. But October is not really that early for holiday marketing anymore. “Black Friday” has evolved over time from the Friday after Thanksgiving to a general concept covering holiday sales occurring from the beginning of October through Thanksgiving weekend.

This transition is supported by Adobe Analytics data indicating consumers spent $72.2 billion online in October 2022, up 10.9% from the previous month and on par with the $72.4 billion they spent online in October 2021.

In addition to Prime Early Access Sale, Amazon also hosted its second annual “Holiday Beauty Haul” promotion from in October and early November 2022. Meanwhile, chief Amazon rival Walmart started its third annual “Black Friday Deals for Days” promotion in early November.

And Target got an early start to the holiday season with its annual Target Deal Days promotion at the beginning of October, as well as a kickoff that month of of its daily and weekly Black Friday deals on Monday, Oct. 10. This year will most likely also see other retailers launch early holiday campaigns, which leads to the third point…

Amazon sets the trends

Let’s face it. Amazon is the kid who sits at the center seat of the cool table in the middle school cafeteria of the retail industry. While Amazon is not always the first adopter of next-gen technologies (at least publicly), its embrace of a new solution seals it as a soon-to-be mainstream retail tool.

This also extends to promotional activities. Prime Day has led to more than 100 retailers running competing events around the same calendar time (as well as similar promotions held at different times of the year, like Wayfair’s WayDay). It’s fair to assume that a fall sales extravaganza will also become a staple of the retail promotional calendar.

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