Prime Day 2019 Trends

The fifth annual Amazon Prime Day was, as to be expected, record-breaking. With sales surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Prime Day was one of the year’s biggest two-day periods in all of retail. Amazon announced that Prime Day 2019 resulted in the sale of over 175 million items, with Prime members across 18 countries saving over one billion dollars. While the event led to record sales for popular products such as Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, it also treated small and medium-sized businesses well with over two billion dollars in sales across the two-day period. 

Since its genesis in 2015, Prime Day has become one of the most important events of the year for both e-commerce brands and retailers alike. Those on the platform gear up for competitive deals and skyrocketing sales, and even apart from Amazon, other major retailers now host their own deals. These other large retailers--such as Walmart and Target--experienced a 64% spike in sales during Prime Day. As this event continues to increasingly rock the world of e-commerce with each passing year, it has become ever more important to brands; so important that many consider it to rival the holiday season. In an effort to better understand the enigma that is Prime Day and its impact on consumer shopping behavior, Reviewbox leveraged our suite of tools to track hundreds of products before, during, and after Prime Day, pairing our findings with industry research.

 

Growth in Sales and Prime Membership 

According to data from e-commerce research company Edison Trends, signups for Amazon Prime during this event were nearly three times greater than July’s monthly average. With an annual membership fee of $119 per account, this was a major driver of the event; and needless to say, it’s paid off. Additionally, sales on this day grew to 200% of that a month prior on the platform. Prime Day is a major catalyst for platform and sales growth.

 

Electronics Stole the Show

It’s no secret that a major driver behind prime day is Amazon’s desire to sell its own products; particularly, Alexa and Echo devices. While typically electronics comprise around 11% of sales on the platform, during this year’s prime day, that percentage skyrocketed to 23%. In-house products stole the show, largely contributing to this increase in electronics share. However, a multitude of other products were blowout successes, such as the iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum and MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener. With deals on electronics better than nearly any other time during the year, it makes sense that shoppers would reserve their spending power to capitalize on steep discounts on pricey items. For example, the Echo Show dropped from $229 to $159 and the Google Pixel 3 dropped from $799 to $539. Pie Chart of Amazon Categories

Source: Edison Trends

 

Influx of Reviews

Brands and retailers alike have come to anticipate an influx of reviews around the holidays due to the massive increase in sales during this period. Prime Day encourages this same behavior, recruiting as many consumers as any other major shopping day. The number of reviews left in the week following Prime Day was 27% greater than the week prior. Our graphic below displays the average number of reviews left per day on the hundreds of items we tracked. Despite this massive review influx, review sentiment remained generally consistent with average star rating hovering at approximately 4.3 stars. 

Number of Reviews

With a large increase in sales for your brand’s products on Amazon, Prime Day can be the perfect time to solicit reviews from new customers. Online shoppers value customer feedback, making it important to learn how to get more product reviews. 

 

3P Sellers Stole the Buy Box

Third party sellers are dreaded by all platform vendors; during any time of the year, they’re a major issue. Brands struggle to figure out how to prevent these unauthorized sellers from listing hijacks and violating Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy. While first party (1P) sellers typically maintain control of the buy box, third party (3P) sellers gained in prominence in the period leading up to and after Prime Day. Across all products monitored during our time period, buy box ownership transitioned to 3P sellers throughout June and July.

Buy Box Ownership

While the exact reason for this transition is unknown, we've established that it's not due to an increase in the number of competitors for the buy box. In fact, the number of sellers for each product during Prime Day remained constant, and the number of merchants owning the buy box decreased during this period, shown below.

Number of Buy Box Owners

There are two primary reasons that buy box ownership transitions: price and stock levels. Prices are notoriously lower for any seller that hopes to capitalize on Prime Day. The purpose of the event is, of course, sales. When examining the sellers for all products monitored on our platform, Reviewbox found that Prime Day resulted in large increases in the percentage of stock categorized as low, out, or unavailable. We speculate that this is likely the reason for the shift in buy box owners from vendors to 3P sellers. If a brand lacks the supply to meet demand, buy box ownership will shift to another seller who can provide that stock.

Percentage Out of Stock

Solutions for Future Prime Days

 

Use Hybrid Accounts

Brands worried about maintaining the buy box during Prime Day can benefit from the use of hybrid accounts, or both Seller and Vendor Central accounts. Because buy box ownership is dependent on price and availability, leveraging both forms of account can prove useful. For example, if Amazon runs out of the stock you've sent them as a 1P seller, you can leverage your 3P account to offer a backup of those products and continue to sell. Additionally, 3P accounts can be useful for the pricing autonomy they provide. Third-party sellers have complete control over price, while vendors generally must concede to the wants of Amazon.

Prepare for Reviews

Customer service teams should be ready for a mass influx of reviews from Prime Day shoppers. Reviewbox recommends responding to all one and two-star reviews, and potentially three-stars if bandwidth allows. If shoppers see that your business cares about its customers, they are much more likely to choose it over another. Each response will be slightly different depending on the situation at hand. The response shouldn't be too long, but should let the customer know that you read the review and took what he or she said into account. You should personalize the response for the customer but also keep in mind that future shoppers will also be reading the response. When responding to complaints, your business should address the issue and offer a solution. A good response should also provide contact information where the customer can go for further follow-up information if desired.

 

Want better review alerts and help monitoring buy box ownership during future Prime Days? Reviewbox is here to help. Contact us for a demo or a free 30-day trial.