Amazon Prime Day 2021, by the numbers: Sales increased 72%

2020 Amazon Prime Day Eclipses Previous Years

Amazon Prime Day 2021, by the numbers: Sales increased 72%

Consistent with everything 2020, Amazon Prime Day experienced its own unprecedented “first.” The sixth annual event was moved from July to October, but the pivot represented much more than a calendar shuffle. Many brands were forced to rework their strategies due to Prime Day’s close proximity to the holiday season.

Their efforts were well rewarded. Despite the three-month delay and subsequent challenges of being T5-adjacent (Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday span of days, or “Turkey 5”), 2020 Prime Day was once again one of the biggest events in Amazon’s history.

Overall, Prime Day hit impressive benchmarks:

  • U.S. eCommerce sales grew 43% YoY to $6 billion
  • Third-party (3P) sellers outpaced first-party (1P) growth with a 60% YoY increase in sales to $3.5 billion
  • Sales for Ideoclick clients grew by 63%, compared to Prime Day 2019
  • Over one million deals were executed globally, providing $1.4 billion in savings to consumers

eCommerce Shopping Behavior Reveals Key Insights

Savvy brands know Prime Day isn’t just about an influx of revenue. Just as valuable are the quantifiable trends post-Prime Day data reveals—which informs future marketing efforts. Looking at consumer behavior, the biggest takeaway is a consciousness around cost. This is particularly enlightening as brands look ahead to T5 and beyond.

For example, over one-third of consumers (36%) stated they will be more price sensitive this holiday season in comparison to 2019. This attitude was reflected in the average Prime Day order size, which suffered a 25% reduction from 2019’s numbers ($44.21 compared to $59.02).

The good news is that 35% of consumers stated they plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping online this year, a 10% spike over last year. And, Amazon loyalty is encouraging for the upcoming holiday season—evidenced by a few key data points:

  • 72% of shoppers did not compare prices to other retailers’ promoted events (Target, Walmart) before making a Prime Day purchase
  • 56% of U.S. consumers stated they intended to make a Prime Day purchase
  • 51% of consumers view Prime Day as the kickoff to the holiday season

The Pandemic’s Unique Influence

One of the most significant insights gleaned from 2020 Prime Day was buying behavior specific to the pandemic. Un previous years, this year’s shopping behavior heavily aligned with increased time at home.

Items for e-learning, remote working, clothing, and at-home entertainment won the day(s).

Specifically, the Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry category sales saw the largest YoY growth (27%), closely followed by the Grocery & Gourmet Food category at 23%.

Top keywords also substantiated this phenomenon, with items mask bracket, thermometer, and AirPods, each coming in at number two among search words.

Headphones, earbuds, and laptop rounded out the electronics search words—a clear indicator people are investing in their work-from-home situation. Top-selling products in the U.S.

iRobot® Roomba vacuums and LifeStraw® water filters further support consumers’ at-home existence.

Strategies for Sustained Amazon Growth 

With the significant influence 2020 Prime Day had on holiday shopping, it begs a key question: Could this be a turning point in Amazon’s future Prime Day strategies? Larger brands have continued to run deals to drive sustained growth throughout Q4, and consumers are welcoming them. Data reports that 81% of consumers plan to shop on Amazon for holiday purchases compared to Walmart (51%) and Target (29%).

Amazon is leveraging these trends with the launch of its Holiday Dash event, featuring “Black Friday Worthy Deals” that change daily.

Advertising’s Impact on Varying eCommerce Categories

Another key consideration as brands ramp up for the holiday season is the impact of Prime Day advertising. Increased discoverability and market share during the two-day event was critical to a strong start to holiday shopping. This was reflected in the amplified advertising spend across categories, which drove greater competition among brands than in previous years.

Brands who were proactive with their budgets—expanding them to focus on Prime Day traffic—witnessed varying return on ad spend (RoAS), category. For example, Home & Kitchen RoAS declined by 47% YoY while Electronics increased by 58%. Beauty & Personal Care also grew (26%). Grocery & Gourmet Food remained consistent from 2019.

Specific to mobile advertising, the “Recommended Deals for You” widget on the shopping app further benefited brands that ran ads prior to Prime Day. The ads triggered inclusion in shoppers’ dynamic widgets their previous engagement with ASINs.

What’s Next for Amazon Shopping Behavior?

These numbers speak volumes, but it’s really the insights gained from the data that brands need to keep top of mind.

A consistent thread throughout is that consumers were and are concerned about three primary components: price sensitivity, availability of deals, and delivery costs.

That buying behavior should serve as a foundation for marketing strategies in the remainder of Q4—and even into 2021.

If you’d some guidance surrounding holiday season planning for Amazon optimization, we can help.


What Prime Day signals for 2020 holiday retail

Amazon Prime Day 2021, by the numbers: Sales increased 72%

Consumers’ accelerated shift to online shopping will be one of the lasting trends of 2020. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. holiday shoppers said they plan to shop online more for the holidays during COVID-19, a Google survey found.

It’s unclear whether Amazon’s Prime Day shift from July to October will last post-pandemic, but the timing gives us a window into the holiday shopping season and what marketers can expect, plan for and start doing now to maximize sales and revenue.

Amazon Prime Day sales hit $10.4 billion globally, according to an estimate from Digital Commerce 360. That would mark a 45% jump over last year’s event in July. Amazon itself declined to give overall revenue numbers, but said third-party sellers sold $3.5 billion worth of goods on the marketplace over last week’s two-day Prime Day event.

How Prime Day ad campaigns performed

Advertising spend on Amazon increased by 3.8X compared to the daily average of the 30 days leading up to the event, according to campaign management platform Kenshoo. That’s the same increase the company saw during Prime Day a year ago when the event ran as usual in July.

Kenshoo says advertising-driven conversions were up 2.6X this year and that advertiser sales revenue was up 4.9X compared to the previous 30-day average. However, that’s down from last year when advertisers running campaigns via Kenshoo saw sales revenue increase by 5.8X compared to the days leading up to the event.

The increased competition for online shoppers meant lower return on ad spend (ROAS) as spend and the cost of bids rose in some categories.

“Despite a 187% increase in impressions, Home and Kitchen, for instance, saw ROAS drop by nearly 50% compared to last year, in part due to a nearly three-fold increase in ad spend.

Clothing, Shoes, and Jewelry experienced a similar effect, with ROAS declining by 4% from Prime Day last year,” said product feed solution Feedvisor.

Some brands saw CPCs come in at more than a dollar over forecast, performance agency PMG said.

Beauty and Personal Care and Electronics were standouts, however, said Feedvisor. Beauty and Personal Care saw a 210% increase in sales on 146% increase in ad spend. ROAS for the category was up 26% from last year. Electronics advertisers saw ROAS increase by 58% over Prime Day 2019.

The Prime Day halo effect?

Again this year, other retailers saw some halo effect of Prime Day with traffic. More than half of the top 100 online retailers ran concurrent sales on Tuesday, Digital Commerce 360 found. Sales and conversion rates went up on U.S.

retailer sites: Traffic increased 17% and conversion rates rose 16% over Tuesday of the prior week. Compared to day one of Prime Day 2019, traffic to U.S.

retailer sites was up 51% and conversion rates increased by 13%, according to Salesforce data.

Advertisers saw solid results from sponsored product ads on retailer sites such as Target and Best Buy.

However, only one or two brands saw 10x day-over-day demand increase during the Prime Day sale period from their non-Amazon retailer campaigns, according to performance agency PMG.

“This scenario proved that for a majority of brands, it was as if Prime Day was a normal pre-holiday day and not the start of this year’s holiday sales season,” the agency told us.

Amazon garnered the overwhelming majority of online spending during Prime Day, with 91.6% of market share during the first 30 hours of the event, Edison Trends found. Walmart had a 3.4% share while Best Buy had 3.0%.

In-store & local shopping outlook

In-store shopping is down, but not dead. More than one-third (35%) of consumers noted that they had shopped in-store for clothing, footwear, or accessories in the past 30 days, and almost all of them had made a purchase, according to an NPD/CivicScience poll conducted in late August.

Shifting consumer behavior has accelerated online-to-offline buying during this time. Curbside pickup is now table stakes. This trend, too, is ly to stick.

Local businesses have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, but consumers say they are interested in supporting them. Google’s survey found 66% of U.S. holiday shoppers say they will shop more at local small businesses.

NPD also notes there will still be last-minute shoppers in 2020. “Despite the increased digital focus, stores will also play an important role this year, particularly since shipping options will become limited as the holiday approaches. Options buy online pick-up-in-store and curbside pickup will be key,” says The NPD Group, a data and analytics consultancy. 

Consumer holiday shopping outlook

Despite the economic hardships caused by the pandemic, 72% of consumers said they plan to spend the same or more this year compared to the 2019 holiday season, according to consumer research from Feedvisor. More than one-third (35%) said they plan to do all or almost all of their holiday shopping online compared to 25% who did so last year, the survey found.   

An earlier start. Even without the prompt of Prime Day, many consumers were planning to start shopping earlier. In the U.S., 62% of consumers said they’ll start holiday shopping earlier to avoid crowds, Google found.

Further, 33% of consumers plan to complete their holiday shopping much earlier this year compared to last year, according to a Feedvisor survey.

Gaining early visibility and sustaining marketing momentum will be key. Marketers should promote fast (and reliable) shipping, buy-online-pick-up in-store/curbside and carefully targeted incentives.

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving week to start dialing up your campaigns this year.

That also means keeping a close eye on inventory levels to account for any possible supply chain challenges. Many brands and retailers are ly to see stock-outs.

Merchants sending inventory to Amazon for fulfillment, for example, should plan to ship as early as possible due to the ongoing logistical challenges Amazon faces. Important dates to note:

  • Inventory for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by November 6.
  • Inventory for Christmas shopping should arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by December 1.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


Amazon Prime Day 2020 Recap

Amazon Prime Day 2021, by the numbers: Sales increased 72%

Twelve hours out from its conclusion, Numerator is sharing first looks and major takeaways from Amazon Prime Day 2020. We spent the past two days sharing live data on our Amazon Prime Day dashboard. The following Prime Day analysis includes highlights from the dashboard and additional insights from multiple Numerator products including:

  • Early-read consumer insights from the Numerator OmniPanel, informed by 43,000+ observed Amazon orders from over 17,000 panelists throughout Prime Day 2020* 
  • Custom Numerator Survey insights from 5,000 verified Prime Day shoppers surveyed in the past 48 hours following their observed Prime Day purchases. 
  • Ad spend data leading up to Prime Day from Numerator Ad Intel
  • Prime Day price changes tracked by Numerator Pricing Intel

*Note: While insights from Numerator Ad Intel, Pricing Intel, and our custom Prime Day survey are comprehensive and complete, insights shared from our OmniPanel are preliminary, and should be viewed as an “early read” that will become more accurate as panelists continue to submit their receipts. Early insights from our OmniPanel span 43k Amazon Prime Day orders from over 17k panelists, providing a robust first look into Prime Day 2020. 

Advertising and Awareness Leading up to Prime Day: On the Rise

Amazon invested heavily in advertising leading up to Prime Day 2020, with a 25% ad spend increase in the two weeks pre-Prime Day versus the comparable pre-period last year.

45% of Amazon’s pre-Prime Day ad dollars went to TV this year, double last year’s investment. Nearly 1 in 5 Prime Day shoppers (18%) said they became aware of this year’s event through a TV ad, while the majority found out on Amazon.

com / the Amazon mobile app (60%) or through social media (40%).

With a nearly three-month delay, awareness was high leading into Prime Day 2020. 93% of shoppers knew it was Prime Day before visiting Amazon to make their purchases on October 13th and 14th, and 83% said Prime Day was a primary or contributing factor in their decision to shop on Amazon.

Nearly one-third of Prime Day shoppers (31%) were participating in the day-of-deals for the first time.

3% were new Amazon Prime Members, joining either day-of or in the month leading up to Prime Day, and another 4% had been members for fewer than 6 months, joining since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Top Items and Categories from Prime Day: The Shift to Gifts 

Amazon chose to heavily promote gift cards this Prime Day, dedicating approximately 28% of their ad dollars to messaging mentioning gift cards, compared to only 1% last year.

Their offer for $10 in credit after spending $40 or more on Amazon gift cards drove massive sales, with existing card reloads and new Amazon Gift Cards purchases ranking second and sixth, respectively, for top items sold on Prime Day 2020.

Last year, gift card reloads took the sixth spot, and new gift card purchases did not make the list. 

Other top Prime Day items mirrored those seen in 2019, though most switched places; the Echo Dot 3rd Generation, Fire TV Stick, and Amazon Smart Plug all placed in the top five both years, observed purchases from Numerator OmniPanel. Investment in ads mentioning Amazon-branded products and services the Echo line and Prime Video were down significantly this year, as well. 

According to Numerator’s Prime Day survey, one-in-three shoppers (32%) purchased Amazon-branded electronics. Further, two-in-three (67%) shared they ly would not have purchased said products had it not been for Prime Day. Other top categories included household essentials (22%), health & beauty (21%), and toys & video games (21%). 

Prime Day Order and Shopper Insights: One to Watch

[This section was updated on 10/22] Preliminary insights from the Numerator OmniPanel show smaller order sizes in 2020 vs. 2019 ($54.64 vs. $58.91) and a slight decrease in average price per item ($32.65 vs. $34.00). Percent of households placing multiple orders was up from last year (61.8% vs. 57.6%) while overall spend per household was steady ($154.29 vs. $154.31). 

Competitive Pricing: A Primary Focus on Prime Day

Amazon was not the only retailer offering steep sales on October 13-14; Target hosted its third annual Deals Days and Walmart held its Big Save event to coincide with Amazon Prime Day.

Despite multiple options for savings, 72% of Prime Day shoppers did not compare Amazon prices with any other retailers before making their purchases. While 53% of shoppers only considered Amazon for the purchases they made on Prime Day, 28% considered Walmart, and  23% considered Target before ultimately choosing Amazon.

1 in 5 (21%) of Prime Day shoppers also placed a purchase at a website other than Amazon in addition to their Prime Day purchases.

Shoppers refreshing their pages in hopes of catching a price drop weren’t ly to see many changes; for the most part, prices on Amazon, Walmart and Target were stable throughout the two-day sales, Numerator pricing data, which scraped select product list prices hourly over the course of the sales. The average tracked item on each site changed less than once throughout the sales days, though this number was significantly higher for third-party sellers on Amazon, who appeared to be more reactionary, changing prices more frequently, particularly within toys & games. 

Prime Day’s Impact on Future Holiday Shopping: Shaping the Season

The most significant change to Prime Day 2020 was its newfound proximity to the holiday shopping season. 29% of Prime Day shoppers used the day of deals to purchase gifts for the holidays, according to Numerator’s survey. Of those shoppers, one-in-four (25%) said they completed at least half of their holiday gift shopping with their Prime Day purchases.

While 54% of Prime Day shoppers were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the deals offered on Prime Day, they generally perceive Black Friday as having the best deals, compared to Prime Day and Cyber Monday.

It doesn’t appear participation in Prime Day will drastically hinder any future sales participation; 80% of Prime Day shoppers still anticipate shopping on Black Friday, and 88% say the same of Cyber Monday.

In light of their Prime Day purchases, 17% say they expect to spend less than previous years during the two sales periods, and 90% said they will shop on Amazon again before the holidays.

Get the Full Prime Day 2020 Report

Some numbers have changed since the publishing of this early read data. Check out our full report for the latest numbers and insights!


For more information or to run a custom analysis on your brand or category, reach out to your Numerator Customer Success Representative or contact us today.


The 2017 Amazon Prime Day Sales Recap

Amazon Prime Day 2021, by the numbers: Sales increased 72%

It should come as no surprise that Amazon Prime members recently enjoyed the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history.

FREE GUIDE: The 2017 Amazon Sponsored Products Guide

According to recent reports, 2017 Amazon Prime Day sales surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday (2016) and the event grew by more than 60 percent over last year.

Earlier this week, the retail giant offered up 30 hours of deals to their Amazon Prime customers. One of the most popular selling items on Prime Day was the Amazon Echo Dot, which was discounted to $35 (regular pricing of $50).

  • The 55-inch Element 4K TV with Amazon Fire
  • InstantPot programmable pressure cooker
  • 23andMe DNA ancestory tests
  • Sony Playstation 4s
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Alexa-enabled smart plugs
  • Whey protein powder
  • “Game of Thrones” seasons 1 through 6 on Blu-Ray

History of Amazon Prime Day

As noted in our Amazon Prime Day prep article, the initial hype for Amazon Prime Day back in 2015 was pretty substantial.

There’s not many retailers capable of creating their own shopping holiday, especially one to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to an article by Forbes, Amazon spokesperson Julie Law called Prime Day a calculated “business expense.”

Prime Day surfaced for 2 primary reasons: First, to stimulate shopping among already existing Prime members and second, to attract new members with free trials.

Now in it’s third year and judging from the data, Amazon’s Prime Day marketing strategy works.

Today, nearly half of U.S. households have an Amazon Prime membership, according to an report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

The report also estimates that the number of Amazon Prime memberships in the U.S. jumped 35% to 54 million in 2016 (we’re still waiting on the final numbers for 2017). 

The Advertiser’s Perspective

One of the biggest changes to Amazon Prime Day 2017 was the handling of Amazon Prime Day Lightning Deals submissions.

For those who don’t already know, an Amazon Lightning Deal is a promotion with a limited number of discount offers on an item for a short period of time. These premium deals can be found throughout, including the Gold Box page and are available one per customer, until either the promotional period for the deal expires or all the available promotional discounts are claimed.

In 2016, Lightning Deal submissions were handled by “human” contacts at Amazon – but starting in 2017, all applications were processed through Amazon’s Deal Submission engine.

Why? Amazon wanted to curate their offers for Prime Day on the front end to make sure they were offering customers the best deals on already popular products.

Although we’re still collecting data, it’s evident products accepted into the Lightning Deal program experienced a significant jump in sales on Prime Day.

“The product display ads that had the option to show the Lightning Deal and run [for the duration of the deal] performed well,” Nick Sandberg, Marketplace Program Development Manager at CPC Strategy said.

“They allowed me to confidently bid higher and target more widely, knowing the duration of the campaign was limited, and that the copy which includes a mention of the deal would help drive the click through on the ads.”

“Once shoppers reached the page, they were more inclined to purchase the deal since the offer was only available for a limited amount of time.”

As seen in the sales snapshot below, some sellers experienced a significant jump in sales within a few hours:

If you’re not seeing the sales data you expected – don’t jump to conclusions. According to our experts, AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) reports could take several days to become available.

Note the following AMS reporting delays:

  • Impression and click data may take up to 24 hours to appear.
  • Detail page views and sales data may take up to 3 days to appear.
  • Since Prime Day involves so much marketing and traffic, some AMS accounts will not have fully updated data within 72 hours.
  • The most complete data we will see regarding your Prime Day performance will be determined around July 25th.

We will continue to update this post as more data becomes available in the next day or so.

Check back soon for more information on Amazon Prime Day 2017 or email [email protected]


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