As many of us have probably heard, Amazon tried to do it’s own Black Friday (or Cyber Monday, ‘Singles Day’) last week, called Prime Day, in celebration of it’s 20th birthday. Most of us would have heard the huge amount of negative feedback on Twitter – which has the awesome power to magnify itself outside of ‘twitter.com’ (take note if you’re doubting the power of Twitter).
So why the frustration?
Well it seems that Amazon may over promised on exactly what was on sale. Many users thought it was closer to a ‘garage sale’ than a ‘sale, sale’. Amazon evidently did a bit to tease the event, and in doing so, created expectations they couldn’t match (an important lesson for all to know and hopefully not repeat). When users, on the ‘East Coast’ I might add, arrived at the site there were some smart TV discounts etc, but most were discounted Amazon products. For example, Kindles for US$49, Fire HD7 Tablets for US$79 etc. Maybe even worse by the time the ‘West Coast’ woke up most of the deals were gone and they were given the prompt of being added to a waitlist…something that as you can imagine went down really well.
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Interestingly, in amongst this Walmart planned their own counter to Prime Day. Some customers on Twitter were promoting the fact that they had found a similar product cheaper on Walmart – nice way to ride on the coattails of an average event.
So I guess the question to really answer amongst all this consumer angst is, what were the sales like?
According to Amazon, sales for Prime Day surpassed their 2014 Black Friday Sales by 18%- selling 34.4 million items or 398 items a second. Specifically –  they said they had sold 35K Lord of the Ring DVDs, 28L Rubbermaid Sets, 4K Echo Devices in 15 minutes; and 1,200 $999 TVs in less than 10 mins. At the end of the day they had sold 47,000 TVs, and 51,000 Boss Headphones to name a couple of items (n.b. only in the US). Sounds ok!
According to a third party – Amazons Sales in the US were +80% yoy and in Europe +40% yoy…that said it’s not like they’re lapping Black Friday- but to put that in context a little Amazon have been averaging +25% yoy growth. It’s worth noting that the Amazon App jumped into the Top 10 (signalling it’s downloads probably tripled).
The big question that remains is – can they actually do Prime Day again given the taste that it left in their customers mouths. Yes, they may have collected a lot of data over that day, and they look to have done well with sales – but the negative sentiment of being ‘overpromised’ that spread through the internet last week might make Prime Day a hard thing to repeat.