Amazon Prime Day Gets Off To A (Very) Bumpy Start

Prime Day

Well, they all can’t be home runs.

Amazon — after weeks of hype, advertising and general excitement building around its annual shopping holiday Prime Day — found that getting out of the gate was perhaps a bit harder than it anticipated.

Shortly after 3pm EST, Amazon Prime Day’s official launch time, the Amazon main site on desktop and mobile began to experience periodic outages as customers rushed a little too en masse to fill their carts at Prime Day savings.  Downside: customers had a hard time getting to those savings.  Upside: while getting all those error messages, users did get to look at several pictures of adorable dogs.

And it seems desktop and mobile weren’t the limits of the trouble — according to, a website that tracks outages, Amazon’s Alexa, Prime Video Services, and Amazon Web Services experienced brief outages.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon suddenly had a lot of annoyed shoppers on their hand — and many of those dissatisfied took to social media to complain because that is why social media exists.

Amazon's response to the situation was somewhat limited.

Calls to Amazon’s customer service number were answered with an automated message saying, “We’ve heard some customers are having trouble with our website right now. We’re very sorry and we expect to have the website fully functioning again soon.”

Amazon told CNN that the issues were real, but being resolved, and that the issues were not really slowing down the Prime Day commerce all that seriously.

“Some customers are having difficulty shopping, and we’re working to resolve this issue quickly. Many are shopping successfully — in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year. There are hundreds of thousands of deals to come and more than 34 hours to shop Prime Day.”

So, to sum up: they were working on the problems, and even despite the problems, people were out-shopping 2017.

This year, the annual sales festival that is Prime Day is slated to last 36 hours and offer discounts of all shapes and descriptions to Prime Members around the world. The target for this year is a whopping $3.6 billion in sales — up $1.2 billion from last year.

Of course, to make that milestone, it would really help if people could actually reach the website to do some buying.

“The worst part about it is it’s just embarrassing. They're supposed to be the best company in the world from a retail and eCommerce standpoint,” said Sucharita Kodali, an eCommerce analyst at Forrester. “This just shows they're human.”



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.