2018 Amazon Prime Day Recap
Accounts vary, but whatever you hear about Amazon’s recent members-only Prime Day event, the one certainty is that it has become a worldwide retail phenomenon generating huge buyer interest and industry attention.
Yes, there were the usual glitches: Amazon’s website crashed early-on (quickly fixed). Many deals weren’t all that impressive. The impressive deals sold out too soon. But, per Fortune Magazine (7/18/18): “Amazon says this year’s Prime Day was ‘the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history.’ …. Sales … surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and 2017’s Prime Day (which itself improved upon the 2016 event by 60%).”
A key driver of Prime Day was Amazon’s massive and sophisticated email program: 1.9 billion related emails sent during the period, and almost 1,000 campaigns. Amazon announced on July 3rd that its 2018 Prime Day would start at 3 PM on July 16th, and run through July 17th. That announcement included a series of high-volume campaigns, most with the subject line, “Prime Day is coming on July 16. Woohoo!” The largest such U.S. campaign went to 66 million customers, driving a 17.7% read rate. The campaign to India had an audience of over 200 million, with a 6.2% read rate. Similar campaigns deployed to proportionally large audiences in other countries. By Amazon standards, read rates were not uniformly strong for these initial announcements (5-25%), but their reach was extensive, considering the audience sizes.
The table below summarizes Amazon’s overall related 2018 Prime Day activity, compared to 2017’s.
- This year’s event began six days earlier than last year’s, and was announced with 14 days of lead-time, versus 12 days last year.
- Amazon deployed more than five times as many Prime Day-related email campaigns as last year, but those reflect only twice as many actual emails deployed.
- That disproportionality is explained by this year’s much lower average campaign send size, and especially by this year’s much larger share of send sizes directing offers for specific merchandise items to the smallest, most targeted audiences.
- Related read rates underperformed last year’s, reflecting a widespread pattern not unique to Prime Day.