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Inflation Didn’t Stop Prime Day Shoppers From Buying 100K Items a Minute

Amazon sold a little bit of everything this year during Prime Day, as consumers purchased 300 million items during the two-day event for a rate of more than 100,000 per minute—the highest in the shopping holiday’s history, the company said.

It seems consumers walk into Prime Day with their eyes wide open. Google searches for “is Prime Day better than Black Friday” skyrocketed by 550 percent in the 48 hours between Tuesday and Thursday, according to data compiled by Conductor, a marketing platform. Similarly, searches for “Amazon Prime Day vs. Black Friday ” soared 350 percent, with a 300 percent spikes in queries for “Prime Day or Black Friday,” it added.

With inflation at record levels and virtually everything getting more expensive, many people want to do their due diligence to be sure they’re getting the best deal. Conductor also documented increased inquires about Prime memberships, which cost $139 per year after a $20 hike in February. Searches for “cost of Prime membership 2022” rose 170 percent in the past 48 hours, while queries for “Prime Day membership deal” and “Is Prime Day only for Prime members” jumped 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Levi’s emerged as one of Prime Day’s biggest fashion winners, with Amazon calling out the popular label as one of the event’s top sellers. Conductor data also found strong interest in the San Francisco denim brand, with searches for “Levi high loose jeans” rising 600 percent over the two-day stretch.

Apparel and footwear did well overall, according to a Numerator study, which said 25 percent of Prime Day shoppers purchased these items, making it the fourth-strongest category. The consumer insights firm said its data shows that shoppers prioritized household essentials (29 percent), health and beauty products (28 percent) and consumer electronics (27 percent).

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That lines up pretty well with Amazon’s report that consumer electronics, home goods and Amazon-branded devices most resonated with shoppers who snapped up diapers, beauty products and Apple watches. Additionally, Amazon said it sold 1 million swimsuits and 1.2 million pairs of sunglasses before Prime Day was over.

Apparel emerged as the Prime Day category featuring the second-biggest markdown rate at 12 percent on average, with toys taking the lead at 15 percent, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Shoppers seemed to pounce on deals that helped their dollars stretch. The average Amazon order during the event totaled $55.26, up 16.8 percent from Prime Day in June last year, according to Numerator, which based its calculation on 21,306 households.

Amazon said Prime members saved over $1.7 billion on their July 12-13 purchases.

The Seattle company once again highlighted small-business success on Prime Day. In the three-week lead-up to the event, small businesses included in Amazon’s “Support Small Businesses to Win Big” sweepstakes generated more than $3 billion in sales. This is in line with the $1.9 billion spent through SMBs on Amazon in last year’s two-week lead-up to the shopping event.

Two-thirds of shoppers didn’t seek better prices on other websites and did all their shopping on Amazon, according to Numerator. Roughly 58 percent of orders were placed for items under $20, while 62 percent of households shopping Prime Day placed more than two separate orders, bringing the average household spend to roughly $144.56.

Consumers purchased more than 100 million small business items in the three weeks leading up to Prime Day.

It appears the tech titan’s livestreaming experiment is at least gathering eyeballs, with Amazon Live Prime Day streams attracting more than 100 million views. The company said “thousands” of creators streamed throughout the event.

“Prime Day is a celebration of our Prime members, who look forward to this event every year, and we’re thrilled to have delivered incredible savings to them once again,” said Doug Herrington, the new CEO of Amazon Worldwide Stores. “This special event is made possible because of the support of our employees, vendors, and sellers, and I want to give a big thank you to all of them for making this a Prime Day to remember.”

According to the Adobe data, online spending across the U.S. reached $11.9 billion over the two-day stretch, marking an 8.5 percent increase over the year before. While the first 24 hours of Prime Day saw total online sales in the U.S. surpass $6 billion (7.8 percent growth year over year), making it the biggest day for online spending to date in 2022, the amount also blew past total online revenue for Thanksgiving Day ($5.1 billion) last year. The second day drew $5.9 billion in sales on a higher growth rate of 9.2 percent.

The Adobe estimate measures total online spending across multiple retailers, based on data from transactions involving more than 100 million products and 1 trillion visits to U.S. e-commerce sites.

“With ‘back to school’ around the corner and promotional discounts being quite favorable for consumers; we saw accelerated growth momentum for days that have historically produced significant spending,” said Pat Brown, Adobe vice president. “It’s apparent that consumers are incredibly price conscious, and it will be important for retailers to leverage price effectively, in order unlock new growth potential online.”

EMarketer predicted that spending on Amazon alone over the two-day event would reach $7.76 billion in the U.S. and $12.5 billion globally, each up about 17 percent from a year earlier.

Atlanta warehouse workers stage Prime Day walk out

While the consumer side of Prime Day took center stage, those working in Amazon’s warehouses garnered attention of their own.

More than a dozen workers walked out of a Doraville, Ga. distribution center Wednesday morning to demand higher wages and prioritize better safety measures. Workers told Atlanta television news affiliate WSB-TV that the crushing demand in the days ahead of and during Prime Day led managers to push them to meet new quotas at the expense of safety.

“We want a safer and better working environment where we’re treated like human beings and not machines,” Atlas Younger, a worker at the Doraville warehouse, told WSB-TV. The employees are demanding a $3 raise from the minimum starting wage of $15.80. “Bare minimum $18 an hour—that’s barely [a] livable wage. But you know, that’s what we want.”

Amazon offers concessions to EU

Amid the chatter surrounding Prime Day, Amazon also offered to stop using sellers’ data for its own competing retail business and its private-label products within its European operations. It’s a move the company has mulled in recent months, amid not one, but two antitrust investigations and a possible fine.

In November 2020, the European Commission filed antitrust charges against Amazon, opening multiple probes related to both its use of non-public data to give it an unfair advantage to merchants that sell on its platform, as well as its preferential treatment of its own goods versus those from third-party sellers. Amazon is accused of using Prime and the “Buy Box” to prominently offers certain items and allow shoppers to add them to their cart in one click.

The Commission preliminarily found that the rules and criteria for the buy box and Prime favored Amazon’s own retail business, as well as marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services.

With the new terms, sellers on Prime will be chosen based on non-discriminatory criteria, with sellers also allowed to choose their own logistics and delivery services company instead of Amazon’s competing logistics services.

And as for the buy box, Amazon will treat sellers equally when ranking their offers. The marketplace will also set up a second buy box for a rival product if it differs substantially in price and delivery from the product in the first box.

Amazon already made one concession to the Commission earlier this month by making it easier for European Prime members to cancel their subscriptions.

If Amazon breaks the newest commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s global sales, without having to prove an infringement of the E.U. antitrust rules.

Amazon acknowledged the concessions in a statement, while also being critical of the Digital Markets Act, which are the new technology rules expected to go into effect next year throughout the E.U. to ensure fair competition.

“While we have serious concerns about the Digital Markets Act unfairly targeting Amazon and a few other U.S. companies, and disagree with several conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively with the Commission to address their concerns and preserve our ability to serve European customers and the more than 185,000 European small and medium-sized businesses selling through our stores,” an Amazon spokesperson told Sourcing Journal. “No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon.”

The Commission is asking Amazon’s rivals to assess the company’s commitments and offer feedback before Sept. 9. The agreement can then be adjusted if necessary.

If Amazon’s concessions are accepted, they will go into place for five years across the European Economic Area, except for Italy, which is pursuing its own case against Amazon on related matters.