Amazon’s Prime Day Isn’t About Sales Anymore

Amazon’s October Prime sales event wrapped up Tuesday, and this year saw a massive shift in consumer behavior.

(Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels)

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You can only go so many years raising prices just before a Prime event before consumers catch on.

Amazon’s October Prime sales event wrapped up Tuesday, and this year saw a shift in consumer behavior. Prime members splashed out less on big-ticket items, favoring purchases under $20, research firm Numerator told Bloomberg. Amazon’s reaction? Burrow down deep into customer data to lay the groundwork for more frequent purchases in the future, as well as anticipating consumers’ holiday spending habits.

Money Isn’t Everything

Amazon started hosting big sale days for Prime members in 2015, and for years it was just a summer event. Despite the company’s immense cultural gravitational pull as a retailer, investor enthusiasm for prime events has been pretty tepid since 2019 as sales growth slowed. Nonetheless, Amazon doubled down last year by adding a Prime sales event in October, and it upheld the tradition this year.

Data collected by Numerator suggested household items like batteries are top of the Prime shopper’s agenda this year. Simultaneously, The Wall Street Journal reports, Amazon is rolling out a feature to remind shoppers to re-purchase items:

  • Amazon has pursued that strategy before, although sometimes too ardently. In 2015, it tried to sell physical buttons you could stick up in your home that would place orders for specific household items like toilet paper and laundry detergent when you pushed them. They were discontinued in 2019.
  • Researcher Daniel Buchuk told the WSJ that tapping into everyday household products is a way for Amazon to adapt to shifting spending patterns. “In the current climate when people have less disposable income, the question becomes, ‘How do we increase revenue?’” he said, adding: “We all have a purchase history with Amazon that is really useful.”

Ho-Ho-Ho: Tapping deeper into shopper’s habits takes on a special significance ahead of Thanksgiving. Brian Mandelbaum, CEO of research firm Attain, told Bloomberg that Amazon is keeping a close eye on customer browsing data so it can hit them hard with targeted offers once the holiday season rolls around. “Each shopper will have their own symphony of offers heading into the holidays,” he said.