Amazon says that Prime members made more than 100 million purchases in its 36-hour shopping Prime Day event – despite reported outages and strikes.
Together they spent ($1 billion) £766 million with Amazon itself and with Amazon sellers around the world.
According to Amazon’s own figures, Prime Day saw a "record number" of Prime members across 17 countries including first-time subscribers in Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg buying worldwide bestsellers including Fire TV Stick, Alexa Voice Remote and Echo Dot. The second day saw the biggest sales for smart-home devices in Amazon’s history, with over a million devices sold. Its inaugural Whole Food Market Prime Day deals, with strawberries the biggest seller.
Best-selling categories included toys, beauty, PCs and computer accessories as well as apparel and kitchen products.
In the week leading up to Prime Day, millions of customers streamed the Unboxing Prime Day. Amazon Music hosted a concert featuring Ariana Grande, PUBG Squad Showdown hosted by Twitch Prime, with customers in London, Tokyo, and Milan joining a live celebration.
Beyond Amazon, UK retailers showed a 13% uplift in sales across high-performing computing and high-tech products, with sales surging by 22% during Prime Day and browsing 17% ahead, according to data from Criteo. World Cup fever helped boost a 17% jump in sports sales.
John Gillan, managing director for the UK and Northern Europe at Criteo said: A technical glitch saw Amazon’s servers crash under the volume of shoppers and is likely to have caused some bargain hunters to look elsewhere for deals. But regardless of the cause, it’s clear that yet again this year non-Amazon retailers benefit from Amazon Prime Day. My advice to those retailers now is to continue to deliver an exceptional shopping experience across all channels."
He adds: “This experience must be personalised to every shopper, reflecting the individual’s unique path to purchase. I know from experience that many retailers struggle to deliver this bespoke approach, but they have the opportunity to compete with the Amazons of the world through artificial intelligence and deep learning technology which can deliver genuine insight into the shoppers’ journey.”
But, Prime Day, which was initially created four years ago as "a one-day shopping event with more deals than Black Friday," has been marred by reports of outage and employee strikes.
The site crashed after the sale launched. Lovethesales.com cited Downdetector.co.uk, showing a UK outage that started at around 8pm and continued until the early hours. Downdetector.co.uk displayed 722 reported problems from shoppers of which logging-in (57%) to the website (26%) and checking-out (15%) were the most common, with customer’s complaints saying that "Amazon isn’t accepting any calls to their number." Lovethesales.com says that this would have been an embarrassing and costly start to Prime Day, costing Amazon as much as £195m in lost UK sales.
Prime Day also saw strikes in Spain and Germany. Strikers called for better workers’ rights and asked shoppers to boycott the marketplace.
In response to this, Amazon said that it’s "a fair and responsible employer," that has "invested £13.39 billion in creating more than 65,000 permanent jobs across Europe since 2010."
This news comes as Amazon offers discounts across Whole Foods Market branches in London for the first time following the marketplace’s acquisition of the US natural food retailer last year. Shoppers at the stores could save money on “a selection of the high-quality natural and organic products they love across all London stores on Prime Day,” says Amazon.
Image courtesy of Amazon