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Mobile Eclipsed Desktop on Prime Day as Nearly a Third Shopped on the Job

Members were ready and waiting to snap up Amazon Prime Day deals, favoring their smartphones to do so and even shopping while at work—perhaps to combat a “fear of missing out” on limited-time lightning deals.

Those were some of the findings from Infoscout’s survey of more than 1,000 Prime Day shoppers who purchased during the first 24 hours of the 36-hour event that commenced at noon local time for the Seattle-based e-commerce firm and brought in an estimated $4.2 billion.

Peter Greene, practice director of consumer durables at InfoScout, credited Amazon for creating a shopping event that is now firmly entrenched in consumers’ consciousness and “impacting annual spend in a broad section of categories.”

“In just four short years, Prime Day has established itself as a retail phenomenon,” Greene said.

Why let work get in the way of a good sale? Just less than one-third admitted to shopping the sales while on the job, spending 41 minutes of their work day browsing the Amazon site. There’s no telling whether employees used their lunch breaks to shop or if they were drawn away from business activities.

Most customers (67 percent), tapped and swiped on their smartphones to access Prime Day deals while just 41 percent logged onto their desktop computers, Infoscout said. JDA’s survey said 60 percent of customers used their phones or tablets, while 53 percent shopped by PC. Given the frustrating glitches that kicked off Prime Day, customers may have used their mobile devices to continuously refresh the crashed website in hopes of getting through to the more than one million deals on offer.

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Although Prime Day managed to beat initial expectations of $3.4 billion in sales, a survey by JDA indicates that the estimated $4.2 billion haul could have gone even higher. That’s because more than a quarter (27 percent) of shoppers who tried to get onto during the hours-long Monday afternoon glitches either walked away with a smaller basket size and order value than planned—or simply gave up altogether. Of the more than 1,000 shoppers surveyed, 52 percent said the Amazon website or mobile app crashed.

“Our survey revealed that the technical glitches on Amazon’s website and app threatened not only its 36-hour Prime Day sale, but also its reputation as a reliable, online retailer,” JoAnn Martin, vice president, retail industry strategy for North America at JDA Software, said. “With heightened expectations, customers are looking for a frictionless experience when making purchases and they will give their money, and loyalty, to those retailers that can deliver.”

Though Amazon has been pushing its Alexa devices, the voice assistant wasn’t much of a factor during Prime Day, with just 1 percent asking Alexa to purchase on their behalf, according to Infoscout. However, the next Prime Day could see the voice assistant taking a larger role, as 41 percent purchased an Alexa-powered device for the first time. A significant number of consumers, 59 percent, told Infoscout they have two or more of the Amazon devices in their possession, pointing to the growing home ecosystem of digital voice assistants available in every room, on command.

Prime Day shoppers seemed little distracted by other retailers’ sales, as Infoscout said 61 percent didn’t bother looking beyond Amazon for the products they ended up purchasing. Just under half (46 percent) claimed they didn’t compare prices on other retail websites, though shoppers who did turned to Walmart (24 percent) and Target (14 percent). Among consumer electronics shoppers, 9 percent logged onto to size up the offers and prices there.

In fact, the prices and discounts to be had on Prime Day deals may have ultimately affected customer satisfaction with the shopping event. While most said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with Prime Day offers, that still came out to just 53 percent—though just 6 percent were completely unhappy with the markdowns, Infoscout found. For now, Black Friday remains the king of shopping holidays, survey takers said, followed by Cyber Monday and then Prime Day. However, two-fifths (40 percent) of shoppers really got into the shopping spirit and made unplanned purchases, JDA said, while 31 percent had a clear strategy and had mapped out their purchases in advance.

JDA seems to believe that Prime Day, unlike the “traditional” shopping holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is about shopping for oneself versus shopping for friends, family and offspring.

“Similar to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Singles Day in the fall, Amazon Prime Day is a way for shoppers to buy items for themselves, as part of the ‘treat yourself’ movement. It shows little effect on spending for other shopping seasons, like the holidays or back-to-school,” Martin explained.

“Even given the hype and teasers from Amazon ahead of the event, consumers are still making purchases on what is available and on sale, allowing Amazon to get rid of slower moving inventory or overstocked items, which is a smart move for all retailers when considering a flash sale,” Martin concluded.