How Prime Day 2019 Stacked Up Against Years Past — For Amazon and Its Rivals

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Amazon Prime Day was, inevitably, another major success for the e-commerce giant, which on Wednesday said it sold 175 million items during its 48-hour “parade of epic deals.”

That total eclipsed its sales for 2019’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, and it cemented the event’s status as the “largest shopping event in Amazon history” for the second year running. During last year’s 36-hour sale, shoppers bought more than 100 million items. While the company doesn’t reveal the total dollar amount the sale brought in, Amazon said in a press release that it broke records for sales of Amazon devices like the Echo Dot, Fire tablet and Fire TV Stick and drew participants from 18 countries. The only dollar figure it broke out was the sale of products from independent small and medium businesses, which topped $2 billion this year, up from about half that last year.

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Amazon also said it signed up a record number of people for Prime on July 15 and almost as many the next day. Prime is the company’s $119-per-year membership program that gives users access to services like free one-day shipping and streaming TV programs and movies. Less clear is how many of these new sign ups it ultimately retains; according to the data intelligence company Captify, searches for “canceling Amazon Prime” were 18 times higher on Monday than the previous day.

Of course, the Seattle behemoth wasn’t the only retailer that benefited from the so-called Black Friday in July. Dozens of other businesses held competing sales timed to Prime Day (some of which, like eBay’s, are still going on). According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. online retailers with annual revenue of at least $1 billion saw sales increase 64% on July 15 compared with an average Monday and 72% on July 16 compared with an average Tuesday.

Unlike last year, niche retailers (which Adobe defines as those with less than $5 million in annual revenue) also got a Prime Day boost, with sales up 30% on Monday and 25% on Tuesday. In 2018, this segment actually saw sales fall, likely due to significant competition from promotions from major industry players.)

Captify found that searches for Best Buy, Walmart and eBay spiked 255%, 130% and 72%, respectively, during Prime Day.

According to the coupon site, Amazon shoppers bought mostly electronic devices on the first day of Prime Day; on the second day, they switched to miscellaneous categories, such as clothing and accessories and school and office supplies. The retailer had touted deals on brands like Champion, Ray-Ban and Dockers in a Tuesday press release.

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