Amazon Expands Prime Day Promotions

Amazon kicked off its Prime Day promotion today, July 12, and the company said members will find twice as many event-specific promotions this year versus last.

In addition to standard discounts, Amazon Prime members can tap Lightning Deals on Prime Day, with more than 30% coming from small businesses and sellers who trade through Amazon.

 “We are always working to make sure customers find incredibly low prices on Amazon,” said Greg Greeley, vp/Amazon Prime. “Prime Day is designed to go above and beyond for our Prime members.”

Prime Day deals include up to 50% off electric shavers and hair tools. Prime members will also receive $10 off their first purchase on any eligible order over $20 when they shop using the Alexa device. For example, consumers can state, “Alexa order a griddler” and get a Cuisinart 5-in-1 griddler for $40, 47% off.      

Amazon characterized last year’s Prime Day as a significant success that helped it drive $99 Prime memberships. Consumers who sign up for Prime get free shipping on orders and access to the company’s various entertainment functions.

Prime Day has helped consolidate Amazon’s position in e-commerce. According to eMarketer, Amazon captured $82.8 billion in e-commerce sales over the past 12 months, a figure that represents a 15.8% increase versus sales in the previous 12 months. Walmart, the number two e-commerce operator, generated $13.5 billion in sales over the past 12 months, the market research firm noted.

In the U.S., total retail e-commerce sales should increase by 13% in 2016 to reach $384.79 billion, or 8% of total retail sales in the United States, eMarketer estimated. The firm expects mobile retail sales in the United States to gain 39.1%, reaching a total of $123.13 billion in 2016 and accounting for 32% of the total U.S. e-commerce market.

In a move that some observers have suggested is a counter to Prime Day, Walmart launched a free 30-day trial of its ShippingPass on June 29. The service provides subscribers with unlimited two-day shipping for $49 a year. Walmart customers who already have ShippingPass will get an extra month of the service for free, the company said.