Amazon’s second-annual “Prime Day” promotion, held on Tuesday, was the company’s biggest sales day ever. The e-commerce giant said its worldwide orders climbed more than 60 percent over last year. In the U.S., orders were up 50 percent over last year’s event.
The notoriously circumspect e-retailer has not released total sales figures, but estimates are high. After Prime Day 2015, the first time the event was held, Amazon said it netted an additional US$400 million in revenue, representing about 2 percent of its third-quarter growth that year.
While the Seattle-based company reportedly sold a record number of gadgets and knickknacks in this year’s Prime Day, its real goal was to get customers to sign up for its $99-a-year Amazon Prime membership.
Shelly Banjo, a tech reporter from Bloomberg argued that the event was a success for reasons other than Amazon’s impressive numbers. “Sales are almost beside the point for Prime Day,” she explained. She cited one estimate that membership rose by 6 million.
Ultimately, Banjo argued, the goal of the event was to make its core service – Amazon Prime – a central part of customers purchasing habits and to encourage it use even for mundane commodities, such as toilet paper. Prime subscribers spend about $1,200 annually on the website, whereas non-subscribers spend roughly $500 per year, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partner.
Prime Day also saw record sales racked up by other sellers and small businesses worldwide that participated in the event. These businesses and sellers offering deals to Prime members nearly tripled their order totals, compared to the same time last year, according to Amazon. “Prime Day was our biggest day of the year,” crowed Emily Wilcox, founder of Fayebeline, which sells $50 t-shirts for infants. “We more than quadrupled the number of sales from our previous biggest sales day.”