After postponing Prime Day this summer, Amazon has set the official dates for its marquee sales event for Oct. 13 and 14, the company said late Sunday night.
According to the e-commerce giant, the annual two-day shopping bonanza will be full of promotions across categories, from gadgets and kitchen appliances to fashion, including brands like Under Armour, Adidas, Lacoste and others.
Customers can filter searches for small businesses that are owned by women, Black merchants or military families. The app also allows users to “watch this deal” and get alerts when a particular product goes on sale.
The company is wasting no time trying to gin up excitement ahead of the event, revealing discounts on its own Fire and Echo line of products, as well as other tech deals for TVs, smart home appliances and other devices. But its own new gadgets won’t ship until later, which only helps to further Prime Day’s influence over early holiday shopping.
Amazon nodded to the scenario in its announcement, which describes Prime Day as “the perfect time to kick off holiday shopping with more than one million deals globally from top brands.”
The company pledged to promote small businesses on its platform. Starting Monday and running through Oct. 12, Amazon will offer Prime subscribers $10 in Prime Day credit upon purchase of at least $10 at select small businesses. It also disclosed it will spend more than $100 million to bolster small businesses globally throughout the holiday season.
Prime Day has become Amazon’s most important shopping event of the year, with marketplace sales estimated at more than $6 billion. That’s impressive, considering that the sale doesn’t appear to extend platform-wide. For instance, there’s no apparent connection between Prime Day and Amazon’s Luxury Stores.
So far, Prime Day messaging stands apart from the high-end shopping destination, which just added skin-care line Clé de Peau Beauté and lingerie brand La Perla to offerings from Roland Mouret and Oscar de la Renta. But that’s only logical: As Amazon’s business looks to establish itself, it’s the wrong time to mess with any perception that could devalue its premium proposition.
Prime Day’s delay allowed the company to address fulfillment challenges and stabilize logistics and staffing, after the coronavirus pandemic spurred surges in online orders and bogged down the system. Now set for October, the sale is likely to test the measures Amazon has put in place. It could also give the company an opportunity to evaluate a new timeframe, and not just for profits, but also for impact across the retail sector.
On Monday, Target Corp. — which ran counter promotions to compete with Prime Day last year — revealed its own two-day event called Target Deal Days. The sale will run on the same dates as Prime Day and release “more than double” the deals the retailer offered in 2019.
But there are other questions at play, including whether consumers will have the same appetite for shopping, as the pandemic continues to undercut the economy and slash employment rates. And even if they show resilience in their hunt for discounts, consumers may or may not have the same urgency. After all, Prime Day and Target Deal Days precede more sales in the runup to holiday by just a few weeks’ time.
On the flip side, the reverse could be true as well. Amazon and Target’s scheduling could preemptively take the air out of a holiday season that will be more crucial than ever for retailers.