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Amazon Prime Day 2021: How Will It Compare To 2020?

Last year’s Amazon Prime Day was a record-breaker.

The platform’s independent third-party sellers—mostly small and medium-sized businesses—surpassed $3.5 billion in sales on Prime Day—a nearly 60% increase over Prime Day 2019. This year-on-year growth outperformed even Amazon’s retail business, which grew an almighty 51% in the UK to reach $26.5bn (£19.4bn). 

These incredible results are consistent with the overall increase in eCommerce sales during the pandemic year. In 2020, online sales rose to a record high of 33.9% as a share of all retail spending, climbing from 20% pre-lockdown in February 2020.

What is Prime Day?

Prime Day is a two-day online sales event hosted by Amazon. Prime members can benefit from competitive deals on a range of big-ticket items from popular brands, including Sony, Dyson, Shark, and even Apple.

This year’s two-day Prime Day event takes place on 21st June and 22nd June.

What can we expect from Prime Day 2021?

It’s unlikely the rate of growth will continue, but it’s not beyond possibility.

Consumer behaviour is considerably different between countries, with nations at varying stages of Covid-19 outbreak, stay-at-home orders and vaccine rollouts. Accordingly, close attention should be paid to national sales data.

In addition to the myriad of market changes, last year’s growth could be attributed, in part, to the change in date - 2020’s event was postponed from its usual July slot to October, closer to holiday dates. But this theory is dubious. If Amazon data suggested this was the case, Prime Day wouldn’t be returning to Summer dates this year.

A new backdrop of mistrust?

On Friday, just days before Prime Day, Which? announced the results of an investigation into reviews on the Amazon platform.

It found that best-selling products on Amazon Marketplace show five-star reviews provided in exchange for rewards and attempts to get negative ones removed.

Five of the nine Amazon Best Sellers product categories that Which? analysed showed repeated evidence of incentivisation, it reported. Offending categories include smartwatches, dashcams, Bluetooth speakers, in-ear headphones and surveillance video equipment.

Amazon hasn’t denied an issue with the platform’s reviews but has called for a united industry approach to deal with bad actors. detected is helping to solve the trust problem for marketplaces, through its global mark of trust for eCommerce.

What can online marketplaces learn from Prime Day?

This year, online marketplaces should closely watch the results, viewing the two-day event as a litmus test for the wider industry. From product categories to overall sales, the results could indicate what this financial year holds for Amazon competitors.

Last year’s top-selling categories for third-party sellers included Bedding, Wireless Accessories, Nutrition & Wellness, Arts, Crafts & Sewing, and Health Care. As consumers seek new experiences and adventure fifteen months since worldwide stay-at-home orders began, popular categories are likely to be markedly different.

That said, the world is traversing two realities: a desire to return to normal life, tempered with ongoing restrictions on movement and behaviour. As a result, eCommerce sales are difficult to predict. But Prime Day results will tell a story, nonetheless. 

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