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Amazon says Prime Day makes history

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Online retailer reports record breaking sales for event

SEATTLE — Amazon.com Inc. said Tuesday that its Prime Day sale was on track to be the biggest shopping event in its history by sales.

Third-party sellers sold over 50% more items on the site by noon local time than in the same time frame last year, Amazon said in a statement.

The sales event, aimed at customers with a $99 yearly Prime membership, listed discounts on 100,000 products offered during a 30-hour window that started at 9 p.m. ET on July 10. Many of the offers were in the $5 off to $10 off category.

Alexa-powered devices were flying off the virtual shelves during the shopping event. Amazon said it had sold twice as many Alexa-powered devices in the United States as it did during last year’s Prime Day. Globally, it has tripled last year’s Prime Day sales of the Echo family of devices, the company said on July 11.

Amazon put a lot of hype into the Echo devices for this year’s Prime Day, slashing the price of the flagship Echo speaker in half to $89.99 and discounting the Echo Dot by $15 to $34.99. Amazon has been the early leader in the voice market, and it is taking advantage of that momentum to build several other Alexa-powered devices.

Market Track did a direct price comparison between Amazon and rivals Walmart, Jet, Best Buy, and Target, looking at Prime Day Deals that were also stocked by all four of those competitors. Amazon was the big leader on price, but Walmart and Jet did work to match Amazon prices in some cases.

Among Market Track’s findings:

  • Walmart and Jet were the closest in terms of price parity, and for many of the Prime Day Deals, the study revealed that both Walmart.com and Jet.com had matched Amazon’s discounted price. Still, they did not match all prices, and on average both Walmart and Jet were priced significantly higher than Amazon on the deals reviewed.
  • Walmart also had the greatest overlap in assortment among the four retailers compared — 82% of the 52 products compared were stocked at Walmart.com on Prime Day, compared to about 50% at Jet and Target, and only 38% at Best Buy.
  • Both Target and Best Buy were priced over 40% higher than Amazon for the products they had in stock.

“Amazon offered compelling discounts on Prime Day this year, offering an average savings of 40% off, according to an analysis on a sampling of Prime Day deals conducted by Market Track,” said Ryne Misso, the firm’s director of marketing. “It remains to be seen how consumers reacted to the selection of products Amazon offered—however, Amazon did offer deals for a wide variety of shoppers, from ‘techies’ to the ‘fit and healthy.’”

Misso added that nearly 70% of the Alexa-only Prime Day Deals Market Track analyzed were for CPG products, from candy to home consumables such as paper towels and toilet paper.

“This goes against conventional consumer thinking that big online shopping holidays mean deals on TVs, headphones, or other bigger ticket electronics or computer products,” he said. “It also may indicate that Amazon has plans to leverage Alexa, and voice-activated commerce, in their efforts to gain more traction in the grocery space.”


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