Amazon Prime Day Series (Part 2 of 4) – Predictions

In Amazon Insights, Ecommerce by Corey Thomas

In this second installment of our four-part Amazon Prime Day series, we’re going to attempt to predict a few things that Amazon will do for this year’s Prime Day. As we make my predictions, we’ll grade how “bold” each prediction is using a 1-10 scale and consider a “Favorability Score” of the result for Amazon’s sake if it comes true. 

For our Prediction Grade, 1 is something we think is basically a sure bet and 10 is a conspiracy-theory-level bold prediction. And for the Favorability Score, 1 is an “HQ2 in New York” level nightmare and 10 is an “Amazon is the most valuable company in the world” type success.

Finally, we’ll do a follow-up to this post after Prime Day to see just how the predictions measured up.

When & How Long (Prediction Meter – 6, Favorability Meter – 8)

Prediction: Prime Day will start at the stroke of midnight on Monday, July 15th Pacific Time and go for 48-hours, finishing at midnight on Wednesday, July 17th Pacific Time.

Rationale: Amazon has historically had Prime Day on the first or second Monday or Tuesday in July each year. Something that is unique about the calendar this year, is that the 4th of July holiday weekend leads right into what is the second Monday and second Tuesday of the month (the 8th and 9th respectively). Having a big sale event immediately after a long holiday weekend is not how you break global sales records and capture headlines, so expect Amazon to push the event to the following week.

Amazon also has been increasing the length of the shopping event to capture more sales and create more eye-popping headline numbers, so expect them to extend the sales holiday from 36-hours in 2018 to a full 48-hours. Not only does the longer event make for bigger sales numbers, it is also an opportunity to sell more promotions inventory and advertising to Third-Party Sellers. As Amazon continues to prioritize the Marketplace side of their business for Third-Party Sellers, opening up more access to pay-to-play Prime Day Deals gives Amazon a win-win opportunity – providing customers with more deal and giving their Third-Party Sellers more visibility for their products.

How Big (Prediction Meter – 4, Favorability Meter – 9)

Prediction: Prime Day will again set records for gross sales with the total eclipsing $6 billion globally. What will be especially interesting to see is if the International sales can overtake US sales (last year it was 63% – 37% split between the US and International marketplaces). My prediction is 55% of the sales will come from the US market for a total of $3.3 billion in sales, and 45% International for a total of $2.7 billion in sales.

Rationale: If Amazon does elect to expand the hours of Prime Day, a jump from 2018’s record Prime Day sales of $4.19 billion to over $6 billion seems well within reach. Amazon also has every reason to do whatever it takes to keep the headlines churning out “record sales” reports, especially as other retailers and brands start creating their own mid-summer sales events to compete with Amazon.

Amazon has also been investing heavily in international markets and leveraging their own internal resources through the Amazon Business program to help Third Party Sellers in the US expand into other global marketplaces. Amazon is well aware that they can only grow so big in the US, and by admitting defeat and closing down their marketplace in China, their eyes are fixed on Europe, Japan, and India as the frontiers for growth. Expect big numbers from the international markets.

Best-Selling Items (Prediction Meter – 2, Favorability – 6)

Prediction: The best-selling items on Prime Day will be the Echo Dot and Instant Pot.

Rationale: For three years running, the best-selling non-Amazon product has been the Instant Pot, we see no reason why this would change. As for the best-selling Amazon product, that mantel has been shared between the Fire Stick TV and the Echo Dot over the past four years. This year we expect Amazon to push their Echo Dot and other Echo-enabled speakers more than in the past to promote their rumored free, ad-supported music-streaming service. With Amazon constantly looking for ways to expand, it makes sense for them to simultaneously sell product (the Dot), increase the footprint of their market-leading smart speaker (the Echo ecosystem), and add a new perk to the Prime Membership program to increase Prime Memberships (music streaming). It also never hurts to make a splash in a new market like music streaming with a massive Prime Member activation for the new service.

Watch out Spotify, you’re on Amazon’s list.

Things Will Break (Prediction Meter – 3, Favorability – 3)

Prediction: Just like last year, Amazon will have system failures at some point during Prime Day.

Rationale: It seems like every year that Amazon runs Prime Day, something breaks, and we all get introduced to the Dogs of Amazon. While Amazon’s system should benefit from spreading the sales over the longer predicted 48-hour window, that won’t fix everything and thousands of people will still end up meeting Barkley, Waffles, or Bowser among others. Fortunately for Amazon, a little hiccup here and there is almost expected by customers at this point. What will turn this into a real disaster is if there is anything related to lost customer data, account security being compromised, or major discounts on best-selling items not working.

All-in-all, Amazon is almost guaranteed to have the biggest Prime Day they’ve ever had. They’ll accumulate tens thousands of new Prime Members, and their reach will grow that much more.

Not bad for a holiday they made up.