Amazon Prime Day by the numbers

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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Amazon said in a press release late Tuesday that small and medium-sized businesses had sold more than $1 billion in since Monday, when the event started.

Amazon sold more than 100 million items and had more sign-ups for its Prime membership on Prime Day 2018 than any previous day in the company's history, despite widespread website outages. 

Amazon said this year's Prime Day was the company's "biggest in history." However, it was not initially clear how much that represents in actual revenue, because the company did not release specific sales data as it has in previous years.

According to Zentail, the company generated an estimated $3.5 billion in the first 12 hours of its Prime Day event this week.

Amazon issued statements Tuesday and Wednesday, saying Prime Day sales in the U.S. grew faster than last year within the first 10 hours of the annual sales promotion. Amazon said sales on Prime Day 2018 surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, when comparing 36-hour periods. 

"Prime Day offers us a unique opportunity to thank Prime members with our best deals," said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. "Extending Prime Day to a day and a half this year allowed us to further reward members with unbeatable deals, access to exclusive new products and unforgettable experiences that highlight the many benefits of a Prime membership. All of this was made possible because of our many valued associates – the global team that continues to make Prime Day bigger and better."

Feedvisor estimated spending skyrocketed 89 percent in the first 12 hours of the event, even despite widespread outages on, compared with the same period last year, Bloomberg reported. 

“Amazon’s Prime Day ‘early jitters’ with website glitches had minimal impact on the sales success of the annual event, with our view that given Amazon’s prodigious spending, it is safe to say that any day compared to the prior year should be much better from a sales perspective, with the continuing challenge for the company driving margin and profitability in its retail business,” said Moody’s Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O’Shea. “As we expected, proprietary devices were heavily-discounted, which will ultimately result in an increase in Prime membership due to the vast content ecosystem that these devices ‘unlock’, which given the roughly 2x spending patterns exhibited by Prime members, is an almost immediate benefit to Amazon’s top-line.” 

Amazon said small and medium-sized businesses had sold more than $1 billion in since Monday, when the event started. A company spokeswoman also told CNBC on Tuesday that “Prime Day sales in the U.S. so far are bigger than ever – in fact, in the first ten hours Prime Day grew even faster, year-over-year, than the first ten hours last year." 

According to Adobe Analytics data, Prime Day saw a substantial increase in online spending year over year, expanding well beyond being an Amazon holiday to include other retailers.

Large retailers ($1B+ in annual revenue) saw a 54% increase in sales versus an average Tuesday but niche retailers (<$5M in annual revenue) saw a 18% decrease in online sales on Prime Day. 

Additional Adobe findings include:

  • Conversions increased: This was the main driver of retailers’ increased revenue for Prime Day 2018.
  • Dogs were the unexpected winner of Amazon Prime Day: Despite the glitch on on Monday, sentiment via social buzz was high (80%), but down about 5% from last year based on Adobe’s analysis of social mentions. Overall volume of discussion of Prime Day was up about 6% versus last year. A significant amount of social buzz was about employees’ dogs shown on the Amazon Prime Day error pages. #DogsofAmazon trended on Twitter.
  • 2018 success predicts Thanksgiving weekend gains: The 2017 season found that retailers that grew 10% in the first half of the year saw revenue increases during Thanksgiving weekend 2.1x over the average retailer. This pattern will likely continue into 2018, and we expect strong performance for the 2018 holiday season from the winners of Prime Day and the first half of 2018.  
  • Consumers’ familiarity with Prime Day: Adobe surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers, revealing that 32% don’t know about Prime Day and another 23% don’t shop on it.
  • Prime Day kicks off rapid online shopping growth for Q3: July-Sept. is expected to be the fastest growing quarter of 2018 in the U.S. Back to school shopping is expected to generate $57.79B in online revenue. These findings are part of Adobe’s quarterly Digital Dollar report that launched today. It includes insights into trends in online grocery shopping, UK vs US online shopping and more.   

"We’ve seen a 55% lift in online sales YoY over the course of Prime Day for large retailers – massive growth that we attribute to shoppers making purchases online with a variety of retailers. As a result of Amazon’s holiday increasing in popularity, numerous retailers offered deals on their own sites to combat Amazon, turning mid-July into a mini holiday shopping season. People love to comparison shop, with many turning to Amazon’s competitors to compare deals and prices. Prime Day has turned into a huge opportunity for all online retailers,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “Amazon’s site glitches didn’t negatively impact sales, with the company revealing sales were higher than ever. And photos of employees’ pups successfully mitigated some of the negative sentiment around the online retailer’s site difficulties.”

Amazon also released other highlights from Prime Day 2018:

  • A record number of Prime members shopped across 17 countries.
  • Amazon welcomed more new Prime members on July 16 than any previous day in Amazon history.
  • Customers purchased millions of Fire TV devices on Amazon globally during Prime Day.
  • Prime Day was the biggest event ever for Echo devices with screens, Echo Show and Echo Spot.
  • Customers purchased more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty products, PCs and computer accessories, Apparel and Kitchen products.
  • Prime Day was the best event ever for Amazon devices for kids, including Echo Dot Kids Edition, Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet.
  • July 16 was the best day ever for Fire TV devices and Kindle e-readers on Amazon globally.
  • For the first time, members in Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg participated in Prime Day.
  • Millions of customers around the world streamed Unboxing Prime Day events including the Amazon Music concert with Ariana Grande as well as the PUBG Squad Showdown hosted by Twitch Prime with a performance by deadmau5.