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Amazon Prime Day Wasn’t a Happy Holiday for Small Sellers

Amazon’s second annual Prime Day was one for the books, with customer orders increasing by more than half over last year in the U.S. alone. But while Walmart, Target and others rolled out their own promotions in the hopes of catching some additional sales, smaller retailers didn’t fare so well.

That’s according to Charleston, South Carolina-based Blue Acorn, which said that smaller retailers—including some that also sell on Amazon—saw revenue, conversion rates and other key performance indicators decline on July 12.

“Trying to change the narrative and fight a macro event like Amazon Prime Day is like trying to fight the weather,” Blue Acorn data scientist Samantha Previte said. “With regard to revenue, while you think you might be safe from the event’s effects—for example you don’t sell in the same vertical, or you have a solid customer base—you’re not. Amazon’s tentacles stretch far and wide and macro-level events like this, if successful, will have a significant impact on all e-commerce metrics.”

Blue Acorn data, based on an aggregate of 22 retailers across a range of industries, found that revenue per visitor dropped 14.77% on Prime Day versus the average of the month. At the same time, conversation rates fell 4.69% and continued to decline for the next few days. Those numbers aren’t surprising, given the fact that site traffic was also down 8.21%.

But that’s not to say something similar will happen next year. Amazon’s inaugural Prime Day, in 2015, actually boosted business for smaller retailers: revenue per day was up 26.76% and the average order value increased 22.47%. So it’s anyone’s guess how 2017 will play out.

“Going forward, Prime Day will likely continue to affect smaller retailers, but the direction will be challenging to predict,” Blue Acord said. “As such, it’s important that brands understand how such massive promotions can affect their business and advertising budgets. They should also learn to avoid making snap decisions in an attempt to counter the effects of Prime Day.”