Amazon held its third annual Prime Day on July 11. The event actually began the evening of July 10 and offered 30 hours of deals instead of the 24 offered in the two prior years. Started in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, the sales gala is now a way for Amazon to sign up more Prime members for a $99 annual fee and promote its own line of products. Only Prime members can shop the event.
While Amazon does not release sales figures, the company stated it had record revenue — 60 percent more than the same 30-hour period in 2016, and more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 combined.
Prime Day 2017, according to Amazon, was the biggest sales day in the company’s history with purchases clocking in at 6,000 items a minute in 13 countries. Analysts estimate the company garnered $500 to $600 million in sales. Without giving specific numbers, Amazon said it signed up more Prime members in the 30-hour window than ever before in that timeframe. The number of customers participating grew by more than 50 percent over last year.
How much Prime Day contributes to profit is more difficult to decipher. Amazon offers deep discounts on its own products, especially those it wants to promote for strategic reasons. For instance, Amazon cut the price of the Echo Dot smart home assistant by 30 percent, to $35, for the day. It was the highest-selling item on Amazon, while Echo sales overall were seven times higher than the 2016 Prime Day.
The company is aggressively marketing the Echo product line because it enables voice-activated purchases via the Alexa voice system. Amazon wants the devices in as many homes as possible because, reportedly, it believes the ease of voice ordering will encourage impulse purchases and increase sales.
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a market research firm, estimates that 10.7 million U.S. consumers have purchased an Amazon Echo device — the Echo, the…