Did you shop Prime Day last week? Or, put differently, did you at least try to shop Prime Day last week?
You probably saw in the news last week that Amazon hit some technical difficulties during their biggest sale event of the year, which they’ve dubbed Prime Day. New deals on products every hour, massive cuts to retail prices, all in an effort to get more people to buy more products, build brand loyalty, etc. And, in the words of so many Scooby-Doo villains, it would’ve worked if it wasn’t for those meddling servers.
Everything looked great heading into the big day. 1 in 4 US adults were planning to participate in Prime Day. In addition, most of them didn’t even know what they wanted, but still planned to shop: an encouraging sign for Amazon, given that Prime Day is mostly about getting shoppers to browse and discover new items that they may not have been thinking about buying otherwise.
Then servers had issues. And people saw puppies instead of products. Amazon indicated that the issues weren’t impacting sales, but consumers disagree. When we rebased to exclude the 75% of consumers who didn’t plan on participating, we find that 30% of planned participants wanted to shop Prime Day, but gave up due to technical issues. An additional 17% say they shopped less than they would have otherwise. That’s nearly half of all Prime Day participants that say the technical issues cost Amazon sales. Yikes.
So, if Amazon lost half of its potential shoppers, why is it saying it was still a success? Well, besides wanting to put a positive spin on it for PR reasons, it’s possible they didn’t notice a huge difference despite the drop-off. Those who kept at it or didn’t experience difficulties at all were people who generally say they have a tough time controlling their spending. Perhaps their shopping addiction helped overcome those that dropped off so that Amazon still saw it as a net win?
That’s an optimistic view. I’m still leaning towards positive public spin. But, at least for Amazon’s sake, it looks like spendthrifts may have been their saving grace even more than usual.