With its delayed date and logistical challenges, Prime Day 2020 broke tradition. This year, Amazon appears to be shaking up its Prime Day routine again.
While an official 2021 date hasn’t yet been announced, Prime Day FBA inventory cut-off dates for the U.S. are slated for late May. That’s about a month earlier than usual, indicating the likelihood of a June Prime Day, shifted up from its usual July date.
A Q2 Prime Day event could mean big changes for consumers and businesses alike. We’ll explain what these might be, and how sellers can prepare for a profitable Prime Day.
Four reasons Prime Day 2021 will be different
Over the past year, U.S. consumers cut their overall spending and largely shifted from in-person to online shopping. Amazon has remained the top shopping destination in the U.S. throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leading in-store retail giants like Walmart and Target and ecommerce mainstays like eBay and Etsy.
This was true in October 2020, when Prime Day finally took place after months of COVID-19-related delays. What’s different now is that, while shoppers are even more conscientious about their spending than they were earlier in the pandemic, they’re finally closer to a mostly vaccinated public, and all the opportunities to shop and socialize that come with it. By shifting Prime Day into Q2 (just in time for summer), Amazon is in a great position to capture consumers’ renewed spending on gatherings and travel.
Here are the major factors that could make Prime Day 2021 play out differently from Prime Days past.
1. Amazon is the top destination for online product searches
Over the past year, we’ve watched Amazon displace Google as the top destination for consumer product searches. Now, Amazon has widened the gap: in our most recent survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, 74% say they search for products on Amazon, whereas 49% begin on search engines like Google and Bing.
On top of that, consumer outlook on Amazon is quite favorable, with a large portion of U.S. shoppers already committed to participating in Prime Day.
- 74% of U.S. consumers have increased or maintained their spending on Amazon in Q2 of 2021
- 62% were able to find items on Amazon that they couldn’t find elsewhere during the pandemic
- 42% plan to shop on Prime Day 2021, and another 32% say they might participate
2. Consumers are more serious about saving money
Many Americans experienced significant financial strain in the past year, and have changed their spending habits to adapt to fluctuations in income, job loss, and the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. This could make Prime Day deals even more attractive than they’ve been in the past.
- 75% of U.S. consumers are looking for ways to save money with coupons, deals, and promotions
- 68% look for the product with the lowest price when shopping online
- 40% are saving more than they were prior to COVID-19
3. Consumers want to resume their pre-pandemic lives
People have been cooped up for over a year due to lockdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing measures. Now, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is well underway in the U.S., and consumers can’t wait to resume their pre-pandemic activities.
As of April 2021, a large number of U.S. consumers are already comfortable attending indoor, in-person events and activities, and the vast majority say they’ll be ready to do so by September.
|Activity||U.S. consumers ready to participate now||Ready by June 2021||Ready by September 2021||Ready by December 2021|
|Shopping at a grocery store||60%||73%||85%||92%|
|Dining indoors at a restaurant or bar||40%||57%||72%||84%|
|Getting beauty treatments at a salon or spa||40%||56%||70%||82%|
|Attending in-person church or religious services||34%||48%||62%||73%|
|Staying at a hotel (or Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)||30%||45%||61%||73%|
|Watching a movie, concert or other event in-person||30%||45%||60%||74%|
|Attending a wedding||30%||44%||60%||74%|
|Getting on an airplane||24%||36%||52%||67%|
Accordingly, we can expect Prime Day purchases in the categories that were “affected negatively by COVID-19 — party supplies, formal attire, high fashion apparel, and travel accessories and luggage,” says Jungle Scout CMO Mike Scheschuk. As people plan celebrations, date nights, and vacations to make up for lost time, “it’ll be like the ‘Roaring 20s’ all over again,” says Scheschuk.
4. There could be a second Prime Day to kick off the holiday shopping season
Last year’s October Prime Day effectively launched the 2020 holiday shopping season, preceding Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events by several weeks. Amazon could decide to run its own de facto holiday shopping event again by holding two Prime Day events this year: one in Q2 and the other in Q4. It’s not a bad idea, considering that around a third of consumers prefer to begin their holiday shopping in October anyway.
If a second 2021 Prime Day is successful, further changes could occur. Says Scheschuk, Prime Day “could eventually become a quarterly event.”
What Amazon Sellers Can Do to Prepare for Prime Day 2021
Sellers: in order to fully reap the rewards of Amazon Prime Day, it’s important to take steps now to get your business ready for the potential uptick in sales. Our seller calendar can help you keep track of important, upcoming dates like Prime Day — we’ll go over the details here.
Send your FBA inventory shipments on time
Amazon has now released Prime Day FBA inventory cut-off deadlines for 2021. In order to avoid stockouts when the event comes around, FBA sellers should make sure any new inventory reaches fulfillment centers by the following dates:
- May 30: India
- May 31: U.S. and Canada
- June 1: Australia and Mexico
- June 6: U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Turkey
- June 7: U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia
- June 13: Japan
Offer customers multiple ways to save
In the past, sellers could add a “list price” and “sale price” to their listings — whether it was Prime Day or not. When you ran a sale on a product, Amazon would strike out the list price and highlight the sale price on your product detail page, so customers knew they were getting a deal. That functionality no longer exists. Instead, sellers need to apply their own deals and discounts on Prime Day.
Some sellers don’t run Prime Day deals at all, and see a bump in sales simply due to the increased traffic. But it’s a good idea to offer customers ways to save. Here are three ways to do it.
- Use Amazon Coupons. A coupon is the best way to let customers know you’re offering discounted Prime Day prices, because it shows up as a bright orange tag next to the list price on the product detail page — customers can’t miss it, and they don’t have to go hunting for deals on a separate page. May 28 is the deadline to submit Prime Day coupons for the U.S. marketplace.
- Offer Lightning Deals. Lightning Deals are discounted prices available for a few hours at a time as a flash sale. Prime Day shoppers can browse available Lightning Deals on Amazon’s Prime Deal page, so it’s a good way to make your product more visible during the event. The catch is that they’re a bit more expensive to run during Prime Day than during other times of the year — but they can really pay off. Be sure to apply for eligibility by April 16 if you sell in the U.S. marketplace.
- Adjust your list price. You can also manually change your product’s list price to generate more sales. Unfortunately, customers won’t be able to tell that you’ve lowered your prices for Prime Day — but if they bite anyway, it’ll still save you from long-term storage fees that unsold inventory can accumulate over time. Plus, it could boost your Best Sellers Ranking (BSR) organically.
Note that customers can use Coupons simultaneously with other promotions like Lightning Deals to save even more money on Prime Day.
Optimize your listings
Sellers should also focus on listing optimization in advance of Prime Day. While discounted prices are important to today’s shoppers, your product listing needs to be as attractive as possible to clinch those conversions.
- Audit your listings: Check your title, bullet points, images, and descriptions to make sure they’re up to date.
- Split test your A+ content: If you are brand-registered, consider using Amazon’s split-testing feature to maximize your listing’s conversion potential.
Boost your marketing strategy
Make sure customers find your listings on Prime Day by boosting your brand’s visibility, on and off Amazon. Start now, so by the time Prime Day rolls around, you can entice your broadened audience with incredible deals.
- Review your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Consider bidding more aggressively for your product’s most important keywords to increase your organic ranking by Prime Day. If you’re a brand-registered seller, now’s the time to take advantage of your access to Amazon’s advanced PPC advertising solutions. These include Sponsored Brand, Sponsored Brand Video, and Sponsored Display ads.
- Run off-Amazon ads: Drive external traffic to your Prime Day deals to increase sales. Try using Facebook and Google ads’ sophisticated targeting capabilities, and remember to track your off-Amazon traffic and conversions with Amazon Attribution.
- Use social media to alert customers to your upcoming Prime Day deals. Consumers are increasingly interested in finding products on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and even TikTok — capture their interest with posts, Instagram Stories, and short videos letting them know how much they can save on your products on Prime Day. You can even recycle some of that content through Amazon Posts.
- Automate your review requests. Accumulating great product ratings and reviews is an essential component of your marketing strategy. Make it easier on yourself by automatically requesting reviews from your Amazon customers.
How you prepare can also depend on your Amazon business model
When it comes to private label products, your most important Prime Day consideration is your inventory. There’s still time to stock up so you can meet extra demand on Prime Day, but you’ll need to get moving to make this year’s deadline (May 31 for U.S. marketplace sellers).
To help speed up the process of getting your stock into Amazon’s fulfillment centers, you may want to look for a supplier closer to the U.S. than China. You can find high-quality manufacturers from all over the world using Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database.
Because Prime Day encourages high-volume traffic, it’s a great opportunity for arbitrage sellers to offer products that don’t normally sell well.
This is also the perfect time to review your current inventory and price old stock to sell. You can also do some research and sourcing of new products now, to build up your inventory for the big event.
About Amazon Prime Day
In 2015, Amazon introduced Prime Day — a day of deals and sales across Amazon.com — as a way to celebrate their Prime members on Amazon’s 20th birthday. The first iteration of Prime Day happened on July 15, and ran for 24 hours. Now, Prime Day runs for two full days. Initially, Prime Day deals were only available in nine countries, but the list expanded each year, with the number of participating countries reaching 18 in 2019.
The sales event has been a massive success ever since — even the events of 2020 couldn’t stop it.
Prime Day success over the years
Amazon raked in even more earnings during Prime Day 2015 than it did during its record-breaking 2014 Black Friday sales event. Additionally, in its first year, FBA sellers worldwide saw a 300% increase in sales, with 34.4 million goods sold.
The following year, in 2016, Prime Day grew. Belgium participated (bringing the total number of participating countries to 10), sales worldwide were 60% higher than in 2015, and 3P sellers offering deals nearly tripled their orders year-over-year.
Prime Day 2017 saw even greater growth, not only in terms of products sold (50% more than 2016) and participating countries (up from 10 to 12), but in the length of time the deal day lasted as well — from 24 hours to 30.
Then, in 2018 and due to the success of the extended hours, Amazon took it a step further and ran Prime Day for 36 hours. Once again, it paid off.
Prime members worldwide bought over 100 million products, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) earned over $1.5 billion in revenue, and it was Amazon’s largest day-and-a-half of sales globally.
Finally, Prime Day 2019 ran for 48 hours, and sales eclipsed 2018’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined.
During that two-day time frame, shoppers bought more than 175 million items, generating over $2 billion in revenue for third-party sellers. In fact, some sellers reported experiencing an increase in sales anywhere from 23% to 200%.
Amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused manufacturing slowdowns and the prioritization of essential goods, Amazon delayed Prime Day 2020 until October 13-14 in the U.S. Despite Americans’ widely reduced consumer spending during that time, Prime Day still charted record-breaking sales, with Prime members saving over $1.4 billion over the course of the event.
In April 2021, Jungle Scout conducted an anonymous survey of 1,066 U.S. consumers, asking them about their buying preferences and behaviors. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 75+, and represent every U.S. state, all genders and employment types, and various levels of income. See our Consumer Trends Report page for more information.