Amazon made two announcements on Tuesday (July 21) in advance of what is expected to be a blockbuster earnings report next week. The company has officially postponed Prime Day in the U.S. and has announced positive results of its SMB program.
The Prime Day announcement was a surprise, as the company was expected to set a date for early October. No date is forthcoming, as the coronavirus has played a role in the decision.
“Over the last five years, Prime Day has become a special celebration and time for Prime members to shop incredible deals for themselves and for friends and family – and it’s something we look forward to every year,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual, while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers and selling partners.”
While Prime Day in the U.S. is being put on hold, Amazon did set a date for one of its fastest-growing markets, India, where the event will run August 6-7.
The wild card for Prime Day, and any day for that matter, remains the pandemic. Prime Day will be something of a litmus test for the overall economy amid the digital shift, as the holiday season looms and COVID-19 cases continue to increase. Record unemployment and a leveling in retail spend will also play a role in its level of success.
“If there’s already so much traffic on the platform, you want some kind of Prime Day deal so customers can get excited,” Fahim Naim, a former Amazon executive and CEO of eCommerce consultancy eShopportunity, told CNBC. “No one wants to buy anything at full price on that day.”
Amazon also released the results of its annual SMB report, which is a bit dated due to the effect of the pandemic in the second quarter of this year. That effect could drive SMB digital business up even more than the company’s 2019 levels.
According to Amazon’s data, American SMB sellers sold more than 3.4 billion products, up from 2.7 billion in 2019, and averaged 6,500 products sold per minute. “SMB sellers averaged over $160,000 in sales, up from $100,000. The number of American SMB sellers that surpassed $1 million in sales grew by more than 20 percent, and more than 3,700 surpassed $1 million in sales for the first time,” according to the report. “American SMB sales from business customers on Amazon Business were over $7 billion. SMBs selling on the Amazon.com U.S. store support an estimated 1.1 million jobs, up from 830,000 in 2019.”
“At Amazon, supporting small and medium-sized businesses is a fundamental part of our work and an extension of our customer-centric culture. Our success depends on their success,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work and has created daunting challenges for small businesses around the world. Yet smaller companies have continued to grow with Amazon, despite the crisis. Third-party sellers have seen record sales in our stores and continue to outpace our first-party sales.”