There was a big craze for protein shakes and AA batteries earlier this month. If there’s any indication that Amazon Prime Day offers shoppers an opportunity, these buying options might be it.
According to CNBC and Numerator, Premier Protein Shakes and Amazon Basics batteries are actually the two best-selling items at the retailer’s $8.1 billion Big Sale Day event, which is expected to take place on March 10-11. Not so with small appliances – they come last. (The Amazon Fire TV Stick, Liquid IV Hydration Pack, and Energizer AA Batteries rounded out the top five.)
All of which suggests that this year’s holiday shoppers are more focused on immediate needs, more savvy about discounts, and decidedly more likely to buy many toys or own a lot of remote controls. On top of that, consumers are more accustomed to expecting prices to fall on whatever they care about.
In the weeks following a sale, retailers should strategize around this important point.
9 Key Points for Big Sale Days
Here’s what retailers can learn after Prime Big Deal Days, during which Amazon says it sold hundreds of millions of items. These nine survey results in the days following the event shed light on how consumers strategize their holiday budgets.
Small ticket products are very popular. Batteries, protein shakes, and Amazon Fire TV sticks have a few things in common besides being the hottest items on Prime Big Deal Days. Numerator reports that 60% of all products sold are priced under $20, while only 4% are priced over $100 (Firesticks are marked down from $19.99 to $39.99). The average order value is $53.47, but 52% of orders have an average value of $30 or less. This shows that most orders are for two or even three items.
Shoppers tend to be more “psychedelic.” Still, these small orders add up, as the lure of the offer inspires multiple return trips. More than half of participating households (55%) placed two or more separate orders during the Big Sale Days, and 11% placed at least five orders. These recoveries lifted average household spending to nearly $125. Retail Dive Report. 72% of Deal Days customers also shopped on Prime Day in September. Key Takeaway: Every year there are some major sales events that come with tons of promotions that can be taken seriously.
Millennial members are a majority indicator. Prime Big Deal Days shoppers typically range in age from 35 to 44 years old, reflecting the majority of Prime holders. Nearly 72% of the more than 770,000 U.S. Millennials and 79.7% of Transition Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1989) are Prime members. As a result, buying on big trading days may serve as a bellwether for that market’s priorities. Retailers may want to consider paid memberships with a competitive edge: Oracle found that 70% of Millennials are willing to pay for premium loyalty membership programs.
It forces more innovative competition. Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other retailers have launched rival sales, some of which last longer than Prime Big Deal Days and feature standout elements. Target is encouraging loyalty by sponsoring a “Deal of the Day” (for registered Target Circle members) from March 1-24, while Kohl’s has reinstated its month-long “Bricktober” event with weekly offers Lego set deals. It’s no surprise that 20% of Prime Big Deal Days shoppers compare prices with other retailers before clicking “Buy.” Events within events are hopeful.
People feel “boring” about electronic products. Maybe consumers just aren’t wowed by shiny objects, as consumer electronics purchases have been steadily declining when tracking Amazon’s sales activity over the past five years, Numerator reported in September. Only 42% of Summer Prime Day shoppers purchased electronics in 2023, compared with 2023% in 2019. And during the 2015 Prime Big Deal, only 15% of shoppers purchased consumer electronics. The category may need new innovation; perhaps the U-Scan “hands-free urine lab,” discovered by Smithsonian Magazine, a toilet seat that measures the ingredients in your urine and determines if it’s the right one ?
Trading day deadlines are meant to be beaten. With Prime Big Deal Days over, Amazon continues to roll out a “Holiday Deals” page on its site, with significant price cuts on more than 150 items (through March 24), including the iRobot Roombia i48 (23% off) and a second model -First generation Apple AirPods (31% off). Many shoppers may have suspected this would happen and put off their big sale day purchases in the hope that prices would drop further. Retailers who offer discounts year-round have already developed this mindset. Take, for example, Macy’s’ “Lowest Price of the Season Sale,” which ends on March 29th. Shoppers may expect lower prices in September.
Personalized transactions are more competitive. Amazon invites Prime members to sign up for invitation-only deals on items expected to sell quickly, a strategy that likely locked in many early buyers. The company also displays offer suggestions to customers based on their browsing and purchase history and items saved in their favorites list, PYMNTS reported. Amazon further tailors its deal announcements by channel—those with Alexa devices can receive alerts about eligible items up to 24 hours in advance.
48-hour sales can be positive PR. Facing a lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission accusing Amazon of “preventing the growth of existing competitors and the emergence of new competitors,” Amazon is positioning Prime Big Deal Days as a boon to its small business partners. Amazon singled out several of its independent customers and sellers, including Clean Skin Club and Hula Home. Amazon says their products are among the best-selling products in the U.S., PYMNTS reports. Consumers are more likely to trust large retailers that not only carry independent and local brands, but also champion those brands.
Speed continues to affect sales. On the first day of Prime Big Deal Days, U.S. Prime members purchased more than 250,000 items with same-day or next-day delivery. Amazon delivers hundreds of thousands of these items within four hours of ordering. The fastest delivery time is 54 minutes, including KitchenAid pasta attachments in Ohio. However, this harrowing shift in peak season comes at a cost, not just in terms of money but also for drivers. Retailers may consider other customer benefits to reduce costs for everyone.
Retailers’ scramble for events may turn into inactive events
The biggest takeaway, however, remains: Shoppers have gotten used to not paying full price.
The retail industry has generally been in this state for some time. The difference today is that consumer options are expanding, including apps that tailor deals on demand, customer-specific pricing, smart devices that tell you when to buy something, pop-up promotions, faster shipping and more.
If anyone needs spare batteries and extra protein this holiday season, it’s the retailer.