A new report has revealed that Amazon’s Prime Day — along with promotions by other retailers — led to a boost in July retail sales.
Michelle Meyer, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of U.S. economics, told CNBC that she expects retail sales — excluding autos — to have risen by 0.6 percent, with about half coming from Prime Day and other promotions by rival retailers. She also expects headline retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent.
“We’re above consensus. We think it’s a strong month,” said Meyer. “It wasn’t just Amazon. A number of retailers had these summer Black Friday deals.”
The economists came up with their predictions based on Bank of America credit card data, which showed spending rose by 0.8 percent. Meyer added that Prime Day has seen higher spending each year since it launched five years ago, but that 2019 saw a significant increase.
“This is a very strong period for consumer spending which started in March. Part of the reason it was so strong was the beginning of the year was so weak,” Meyer said.
Another factor: A heatwave across half of the United States.
“We find that spending was higher in the impacted states, particularly in groceries, utilities and gasoline. Indeed, once the heat wave started on July 13th, the growth rate in spending in the impacted states diverged, ” the economists said in a note.
Data after this year's Prime Day showed that shoppers spent more than 10 times as much money on Amazon during the first 24 hours of the event than they did on Walmart and eBay combined. In fact, sales in the first 24 hours were up 53 percent compared to the same period of last year’s Prime Day, while sales over the two days this year surpassed those on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
In addition, Amazon said it added more new Prime members on July 15 than any other day, and almost as many on July 16 — making them the two biggest days ever for new member signups.