Amazon recently hosted a second major sales event this year for its Prime members, the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale, which took place October 11 and 12. The sale was the first time Amazon ran a second major sales event similar to its annual Prime Day.

Given that shoppers are holiday shopping earlier than ever this year, the two-day October sale was a move to mutually benefit both retailers and consumers ahead of the post-Thanksgiving holiday sales rush.

CivicScience post-sale data find that 30% of U.S. adults reported they participated, which was slightly lower than July’s Prime Day turnout.

Holiday shopping exceeded expectations. Pre-sale results found that 29% of intending shoppers planned to shop for holiday gifts, yet in post-sale results, 45% of shoppers made holiday gift purchases. Nearly one-quarter of shoppers exclusively purchased holiday gifts. It’s reported that Amazon gift cards were a top purchase during the sale, further driving the notable gift-card giving trend. 

However, supply chain issues were worse this time around. Out-of-stock items were a significant setback for many Early Access shoppers, severely disrupting shopping plans. More than half reported they were unable to get all of the items they wanted. What’s most alarming is that more than 1-in-3 shoppers said that none of what they wanted was in stock, compared to around 1-in-4 of July’s Prime Day shoppers. 

More shoppers made unintended purchases. Compared to July, fewer shoppers purchased items they planned to buy and more made impulse purchases, likely the result of a combination of stocking issues and unplanned holiday gift purchases.

Impulse buys were not significant enough to compete with Prime Day 2022. Receipt analysis finds that shoppers spent much less on average than Prime Day earlier this year. Growing price sensitivity could have played a role, although data show that price-sensitivity and inflation concerns were actually higher in July than in early October. What’s clear from survey results is that supply chain issues were a key factor in the Early Access event. 

Competitive early holiday sales events such as those hosted by Walmart and Target could also have taken a cut. Previous studies show that Prime shoppers aren’t exclusive Amazon shoppers and will gravitate toward sales and deals from other retailers.