Amazon.com said it sold more products during its Prime Day event Wednesday than on last year’s Black Friday, a sign the promotion was a success despite complaints that the deals were subpar.
While the company didn’t provide revenue figures, Amazon said that orders rose 266 per cent from the same day a year earlier and were up 18 per cent from Black Friday — the retail industry’s traditional blowout sale. More customers also signed up for Prime memberships on Wednesday than any previous day, the Seattle-based company said in a statement.
“Going into this, we weren’t sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in the statement. “After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again.”
The results helped validate an event that was derided by many customers on social media. They complained of lacklustre discounts and a hum-drum assortment of items, such as food containers, shoe horns and dietary supplements. Prime Day also drew a counterattack from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which put thousands of items on sale earlier this week.
ChannelAdvisor, which helps merchants sell on Amazon.com, said its customers’ Prime Day sales surged from a year earlier. The total merchandise value was up 93 per cent in the U.S. compared with July 16, 2014, which ChannelAdvisor chose because it was the same day of the week a year earlier.
ChannelAdvisor’s customer sales on Prime Day were 97 per cent of total sales on Black Friday 2014 and 60 per cent of last year’s Cyber Monday — another annual promotional event.
“Amazon delivered on the pitch,” said Scot Wingo, chairman of ChannelAdvisor. “They came within 3 per cent of delivering a holiday sale in July that was the size of Black Friday.”
Wal-Mart said on Thursday that its sales event also was a success. Since announcing a wave of discounts on Monday, Walmart.com has had some of its highest volume ever for orders, spokesman Bao Nguyen said in an e-mail. And Wednesday was the retailer’s biggest day this year for same-day pickup, a feature that lets customers order products online and then collect them at a store. The orders increased by triple digits from the same day a year earlier.
Wal-Mart has been escalating its efforts to win customers from Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. That includes developing its own competitor to Prime that will cost $50 a year, half the price of Amazon’s offering, and investing heavily in its website.
SOURCE: SPENCER SOPER AND SHANNON PETTYPIECE