Amazon Prime Day 2019: Bigger than Cyber Monday

by Matt Ellis

Like one of its Lightning Deals, Amazon Prime Day 2019 has already come and gone. Although it only lasted 48 hours — up from 36 hours last year and 24 hours from when it started in 2015 — Amazon’s sales extravaganza made the most out of those two days and set some impressive records.

In particular, Prime Day 2019 sold more than Amazon’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales combined. That puts it firmly as “the largest shopping event in Amazon history,” at least for now. The pull from Prime Day was so strong that even Amazon’s top competitors like Walmart and Best Buy saw a 68% increase in sales during July 15-16.

But what does that mean for Amazon sellers moving forward? What lessons did we learn from Prime Day and what can we do with that information? Below, we offer a retrospective for Prime Day 2019, with statistics, top products and advice for the future.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 Statistics

Let’s break down Prime Day 2019 by the numbers. We’ve collected the most helpful data from Amazon’s own press release and a Forbes report.

  • Amazon sold 175 million items on July 15-16, surpassing their performance on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined.
  • July 15 & 16 were two of only four days outside the holiday season to sell more than $2 billion in U.S. online sales. (The other two were Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
  • The prevalence of one-day, same-day, and Prime Now shipping led to Amazon calling it “the fastest Prime Day ever.”
  • Small retailers on Amazon (with annual sales under $5 million) saw a 28% boost during Prime Day. This is even more remarkable considering that last year small retailers lost revenue.

Best Sellers from Amazon Prime Day 2019

Amazon sellers can gauge current sales trends from looking at the best sellers of Prime Day 2019. We see not only which products have the most demand, but also what products people are waiting for a discount to buy.

  • The big winner seems to be household appliances: Instant Pot pressure cookers, iRobot Roombas, and MyQ Smart Garage Door Openers were among the most in-demand items, not to mention an increased number of doorbell devices like Ring and Blink.
  • Aside from appliances, other best-sellers in the U.S. included LifeStraw Personal Water Filters, Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips Kits, and 23andMe Health + Ancestry Kits.
  • Amazon reports the success of Amazon products — Fire tablets, Kindle devices and Echo devices.
  • According to Amazon, American shoppers “purchased more than 100,000 lunchboxes, 100,000 laptops, 200,000 TVs, one million headphones, 350,000 luxury beauty products, 400,000 pet products, 650,000 household cleaning supplies, and more than one million toys.”
  • Amazon’s press release lists the best sellers by country, which is worth a deeper dive if you have a targeted international sales strategy.

A 48-Hour Prime Membership for a 48-Hour Sale?

If you look at Amazon’s own press material for Prime Day, they like to talk about how many Amazon Prime membership signups they received. And that’s true for the most part — July 15 and 16 saw more Prime signups than any other day.

What they don’t mention, though, is how many cancellations they receive those same days and directly afterwards. That number is a well-kept secret, as Amazon corporate declines to release the data. But what analytics firm Captify found out is that searches for “Cancelling Amazon Prime” were 18x higher on July 15 than normal days.

The same article estimated an Amazon Prime membership retention rate of around 90%, although, considering the information above, this almost certainly drops significantly during Prime Day. If your sales strategy revolves around Prime members, even outside of Prime Day, it’s worth considering the transience of shoppers who just sign up for Prime Day and then cancel.

What Did You Learn from Amazon Prime Day 2019?

Now that you have this information, what do you do with it as a seller?

Among other things, we learned that consumers are willing to hold off on appliance purchases until they’re on sale. That’s not exactly news, judging by the success of Labor Day and Memorial Day sales events for appliances. What this latest data teaches us is that Prime Day is now a full-fledged shopping holiday, and appliance sellers should incorporate it in the grand strategy for 2020 and beyond.

If you’re looking ahead at your next steps, we suggest reinvesting your Prime Day profits into your Q4 sales campaigns. Just because Prime Day 2019 beat out Amazon’s Thanksgiving weekend sales for last year doesn’t mean they’ll do it for this year — if anything, Prime Day’s success in 2019 forecasts an even bigger holiday season for Amazon.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon’s statistics only cover Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the Q4 sales boost also lasts the first three weeks of December. That makes the entire winter holiday season more profitable overall.

Rather than pocketing your Prime Day profits, they may be better spent on things like advertising, new products and marketing efforts for the upcoming holiday season.

Conclusion: A Good Reputation for Every Season

The way some people talk about Prime Day, they make it seem like it doesn’t matter what you do in the “off season.” But the truth is actually quite the opposite: the most trusted and best-rated stores all-year round generally do the best when during Prime Day. After all, your seller feedback rating directly affects your Buy Box eligibility.

As mentioned in the Amazon Seller’s Guide to Prime Day, customers make buying decisions just as much from reviews as the price or products. If your reviews are lackluster, so will be your returns on Prime Day — and the rest of the year. Start getting more reviews with this free guide!

Originally published on July 26, 2019, updated August 7, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.