Analysts predict that this year’s Prime Day has the possibility to be Amazon’s largest-ever sales day one year after the eCommerce retailer brought on more members to its Prime service in its history on the first day of the event — even after it increased its membership fees from $99 to $119 annually. This year, analysts are also expecting a rise in Prime memberships.
Analyst Brent Thill said, according to a report from The Street published on Monday (July 15), “We expect another solid increase in membership during this year’s event as Amazon focuses on furthering international penetration and broadening into older U.S. consumers.” And, according to another report, Thill estimates that the penetration of the membership service is approximately three in ten households in the United States and under 5 percent of global markets.
With this year’s Prime Day, the retailer is making the event a bit longer — from 36 hours in 2018 to 48 hours. The eCommerce retailer has also grown the event beyond the United States, as it is having sales in over 12 countries. Even so, the first day of the now-annual shopping extravaganza was not without its hiccups.
Workers for Amazon in Germany and Minnesota are striking to protest wage practices and working conditions as Prime Day gets underway. In Minnesota, workers started to walk out in the afternoon and were to reportedly strike over six hours for a period that overlaps with morning as well as evening shifts. According to CNBC, workers were chanting “we work, we sweat, Amazon workers need a rest!” and “Amazon, hear our voice!”
An Amazon spokesperson told PYMNTS on Tuesday (July 16), “Roughly 15 associates participated in the event outside of the Shakopee [Minnesota] fulfillment center. It was obvious to the 1,500-full-time workforce that an outside organization used Prime Day to raise its own visibility, conjured misinformation and a few associate voices to work in their favor, and relied on political rhetoric to fuel media attention. The fact is that Amazon provides a safe, quality work environment in which associates are the heart and soul of the customer experience, and today’s event shows that our associates know that to be true. We encourage anyone to come take a tour anytime.”
In an earlier statement reported by CNBC, Amazon said, “These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favor, when in fact we already offer the things they purport to be their cause — industry-leading pay of $15 per hour, benefits and a safe workplace for our employees.” The eCommerce retailer continued per the outlet, “If these groups — unions and the politicians they rally to their cause — really want to help the American worker, we encourage them to focus their energy on passing legislation for an increase in the federal minimum wage, because $7.25 is too low.”
And some shoppers took to social media to complain that they couldn’t add any items to their shopping carts on Monday (July 15). According to reports, one media outlet tried to add products to a cart and experienced similar challenges just after 11 a.m. Eastern time. However, the items were reportedly added at a later time and “any issues” appeared to be resolved as of 1:30 p.m.
Last year, the Amazon main site on mobile as well as desktop started to experience periodic outages as shoppers rushed a little too en masse to fill their carts with Prime Day savings shortly after the event’s official launch time. It was also noted that desktop and mobile weren’t the limits of the trouble — Prime Video Services, Amazon’s Alexa, and Amazon Web Services also reportedly experienced brief outages.
The Road Ahead
When it comes to product selection for this year’s event, Amazon noted on Twitter that “more than half of the items sold in our stores are from small and medium-sized businesses.” Another tweet from the eCommerce retailer pointed out that JUST water, which packages spring water in a paper-based bottle, was discounting its products for Prime Day.
Last year, the eCommerce retailer raked in $4.2 billion from shoppers during the Prime Day event, per one estimate at the time. That would mark a rise of 33 percent from the prior year’s Prime day per reports at the time. (Wedbush Securities Analyst Michael Pachter came up with the estimate based on company-released information.)
Coresight Research, however, had offered a prediction that Amazon would have revenue of only $3.4 billion from Prime Day. The strong sales came despite the fact that Amazon faced some glitches in the early hours of the promotion, frustrating many shoppers. Consumers appeared to get over that quickly, however, as they made Prime Day into Amazon’s biggest shopping day ever, per reports at the time.
Will this year’s Prime Day sales surpass last year’s, and will Prime membership continue to grow with this year’s shopping extravaganza? The results will tell.