Amazon Prime Day 2021 has come and gone, but the results and analyses regarding the most anticipated online shopping event of the year are still rolling in – and likely will for some time. Circumstances surrounding this year’s sale were different from past years, which makes it more challenging to not only compare Prime Day 2021 with previous events, but also to accurately analyze how its sales performance relates to the current state and trajectory of ecommerce.
Prime Day 2021 took place June 21 to 22, which is more in line with typical Prime Days. As you remember, last year’s event was held in October. This change in timing was in reaction to the breakout of COVID-19. It was also a calculated effort by Amazon to jumpstart the holiday shopping season – and it worked. According to Digital Commerce 360, Prime Day 2020 sales reached $10.4 billion, up from $7.16 billion (+45.2%) over Prime Day 2019 and from $4.19 billion (+148.2%) over Prime Day 2018.
Given that Prime Day 2021 took place in midsummer, just eight months after the previous Prime Day, and outside of the holiday shopping season, comparing year-over-year sales between the two events doesn’t translate to useful insight. A similar problem arises when comparing Prime Day 2021 to Prime Day 2019, the most recent one to take place in summer. After all, that event predated COVID-19, which is still impacting daily life and commerce in many parts of the country.
All this considered, expectations were high for Prime Day 2021. Just days before the event, Adobe’s Digital Economy Index predicted $11 billion in sales over the 48-hour sale, which would have been another record. Amazon typically doesn’t release total Prime Day sales, but some reports indicate a slightly lower-than-expected performance. While Digital Commerce 360 estimates Prime Day sales reached $11.19 this year, Adobe reports that total online sales for June 21 and 22 were just more than $11 billion. It’s important to note that this figure includes both Amazon and non-Amazon sales, suggesting Prime Day 2021 did not meet the initial Adobe sales forecast.
Nevertheless, the mega sale was still a success by any measurement. In a statement released June 23, 2021, Amazon announced that this year’s event delivered the two biggest days ever for small and medium-sized businesses in Amazon’s stores worldwide. While the press release shied away from boasting about company sales records as it has in previous years, Amazon did confirm the following highlights:
- Customers spent over $1.9 billion on more than 70 million small business products during the promotional period, more than a 100% year-over-year increase in sales compared to the Prime Day October 2020 promotion.
- Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote was the most popular item purchased during Prime Day with customers purchasing more Fire TV 4K streaming media players on Prime Day this year than any previous Prime Day.
- Best-selling categories worldwide for Prime Day 2021 included tools, beauty, nutrition, baby care, electronics including Amazon Devices, apparel, and household products.
- Top-selling products worldwide for Prime Day 2021 included iRobot Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum, Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy Vitamins by Goli Nutrition, and Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips.
- Prime members worldwide saved while gearing up for back to school, purchasing more than 600,000 backpacks, 1 million laptops, 1 million headphones, 240,000 notebooks, 40,000 calculators, and 220,000 Crayola products.
- Tens of millions of customers viewed Prime Day product demonstrations and try-on hauls, heard directly from creators, and more during Amazon Live livestreams throughout Prime Day.
In total, Amazon stated that Prime members purchased more than 250 million items during Prime Day 2021, including a surge in early back-to-school shopping. According to the press release, prime members purchased more than 600,000 backpacks, 1 million laptops, 1 million headphones, 240,000 notebooks, 40,000 calculators, and 220,000 Crayola products.
Channel Key can confirm that our clients in the School Supplies category enjoyed strong sales during Prime Day 2021. As you can see in the table below, one of our brand partners in this category generated nearly $30,000 in sales against an ad spend of $5,341. By comparison, this same brand spent $4,159 on advertising during Prime Day 2020 to generate $16,911 in sales. For a more comprehensive look into how our clients performed during this year’s event, we’ve compiled the following data from brands in five popular Amazon categories.
Channel Key Takeaway
Launched in 2015, Amazon Prime Day has grown to become one of the most important shopping events of the year, even rivaling Black Friday. Its popularity has skyrocketed to the point where competing retailers like Walmart and Target run their own sales to coincide with shoppers who are ready to spend during Amazon’s two-day event. While year-over-year growth for Prime Day 2021 was lower than previous years, Digital Commerce 360 reports that sales of marketplace goods increased more than Amazon’s own product sales. In other words, brand owners are winning. As for what this means for e-commerce moving forward, the future looks bright and profitable. You may remember back in 2020 when consulting firm McKinsey and Company reported that e-commerce experienced ten years of growth in just three months. This trajectory has since settled into more sustainable momentum. New data from eMarketer forecasts online sales in the U.S. to grow 17.9% this year – powered in large part by Amazon, which accounts for about 40% of all e-commerce sales. If there is one lesson to be learned from Prime Day 2021, it’s this: online shopping is becoming the new normal and Amazon is leading the way.