Amazon sold more than 100 million items during its first-ever fall Prime sales event — nothing to sneeze at to be sure, but only a third of what the ecommerce giant moved during its core Prime Day sale in July. Still, Amazon’s Early Access sale, which took place Oct. 11 and 12, 2022, appears to have had the effect Adobe predicted of moving up the start of holiday shopping earlier than ever.
As Amazon’s annual summer sale also tends to do, the fall Prime promotion prompted competitive sales from a host of other retailers including Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco and Wayfair, among others. “Our Prime Early Access Sale was a great kickoff to the holidays, and the best part is that it’s only the beginning,” said Doug Herrington, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Stores in a statement.
Indeed, and beginning earlier than ever before with inflation, rising interest rates and recessionary pressures forcing shoppers to implement “new money-saving tactics, including starting to shop earlier to spread out their spending,” according to Adobe.
Still, Adobe is predicting U.S. holiday sales will be strong this year at $209.7 billion from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, representing 2.5% growth YoY. And while Adobe still considers Nov. 1 as the formal start of holiday shopping, the firm noted that Amazon’s fall sale will have an impact on the season overall and will likely cut into Cyber Week performance. “As [Prime Day is] an event that has historically lifted all boats in retail, earlier discounts will entice some shoppers to get started earlier and spread out spend this season,” Adobe said in a statement.
Cyber Monday is expected to remain the season’s and year’s biggest shopping day, driving a record $11.2 billion in spending, a 5.1% YoY increase. By comparison, Black Friday online sales are projected to grow by just 1% YoY at $9 billion, while Thanksgiving sales are set to fall to $5.1 billion, down 1% YoY. “These major shopping days are losing prominence as ecommerce becomes a more ubiquitous daily activity and as consumers see discounts continuing throughout the full season,” said Adobe.
“The shape of the holiday season will look different this year with early discounting in October pulling up spend that would have occurred around Cyber Week,” said Patrick Brown, VP of Growth Marketing and Insights at Adobe in a statement. “Even though we expect to see single-digit growth online this season, it is notable that consumers have already spent over $590 billion online this year [from January to August 2022] at 8.9% growth, highlighting the resiliency of ecommerce demand.”
Adobe also expects discounts to hit record highs this year (upwards of 32%) as retailers contend with their own set of economic challenges, namely oversupply and softening consumer spending.
Electronics, Household Staples … and Pelotons
Top categories during the fall Prime event, according to Amazon, included toys, home, beauty and personal care, apparel and electronics. In fact, the retailer said it sold 8 million toys alone. Some of the best-selling products included the Macbook Air M1, Bose earbuds and headphones, and Casper pillows and toppers. Another top-performing product was Peloton bikes, which only recently made their way onto the platform as that brand looks to expand its reach amid increasing pressure on its business.
However, consumer surveys from Numerator show that buying patterns followed as similar trend as the summer Prime event, with the bulk of shoppers stocking up on staples — 15% of shoppers said they purchased larger ticket items they’d only buy on sale, while 23% got everyday goods they would have bought anyway.
Average order size during the Prime Early Access sale was $46.68, down from $60.29 on Prime Day 2022, according to Numerator, with 29% of shoppers saying they used the sale to purchase holiday gifts. Of those who purchased gifts, 69% say they completed less than half of their holiday shopping, and 95% say they’re likely to shop on Amazon again for additional holiday items in the next three months.