[This post was authored by Emily Sullivan and Shannon Mullery, Content Specialists at Tinuiti]
The holidays are right around the corner and, this year, Amazon gave eager shoppers the opportunity to cross items off their lists a bit earlier than expected. Amazon just wrapped up their 48-hour inaugural savings event called the Prime Early Access Sale, aimed at jumpstarting consumers’ holiday shopping. The sale ran through October 11-12 and included hundreds of thousands of deals on popular items like toys, electronics, home decor, Amazon devices, and more.
The sales event, available exclusively to Amazon Prime members, gave sellers the opportunity to showcase their top holiday deals earlier than ever before. But was Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale (PEAS) a success?
Let’s dive into the numbers to find out.
Prime Early Access Sale Results
Now that the Early Access Sale has come and gone, let’s break down the top stats…
- More than 8 million toys in the U.S. sold during the 48-hour event (Source)
- There were 44,000+ Amazon Prime orders placed during the Early Access event (Source)
- 25% of orders placed were less than $20 (Source)
- 56% of households that shopped during the sale placed 2+ separate orders (Source)
- Amazon’s own brands were “key players” across some of the most visible categories in the PEAS, including personal electronics and smart home devices (Source)
Amazon recently reported that some of their best sellers during the sale included the Macbook Air M1; Peloton Bike; Bose earbuds and headphones; Casper pillows and toppers; and Shark hair dryers, vacuums, and air purifiers. The top-selling categories globally were Apparel, Home, Toys, and Amazon devices.
Some of the best-selling items, specific to the United States, included LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask, Apple AirPods (2nd Generation), Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, and Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Strips.
Holiday shopping and decorating were also top of mind during the sale, with some of the best-selling items from this year’s Toys Gift Guide and ‘Toys We Love’ list, including playsets, dolls, and toys from Barbie, Melissa & Doug, PAW Patrol, Squishmallows, and Magna-Tiles— who also had a very successful Prime Day this past summer. Top holiday prep and décor items sold in the U.S. included wreaths, garlands, decorative lights, and Halloween costumes.
“Our Prime Early Access Sale was a great kickoff to the holidays, and the best part is that it’s only the beginning. Customers will find millions of must-have deals throughout the season that will help them continue to save money on gifts for loved ones. We know our employees, vendors, and selling partners show incredible dedication to delivering a great experience during the holidays, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to serving customers during this special time of the year.”
— Doug Herrington, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Stores
Trends and Expert Takes
The Prime Early Access Sale certainly brought increased traffic to Amazon’s site, but how did this event compare to Prime Day, and will it have an impact on Q4 sales leading up to Black Friday? Let’s find out.
Prime Day 2022 vs Prime Early Access Deal
It doesn’t feel that long ago that Amazon had another sales extravaganza, and that’s because it wasn’t. In July, Amazon hosted their Prime Day sales event, which is considered to be some of the biggest shopping days of the year. How did the Prime Early Access Deal stack up to July’s Prime Day? Let’s take a look…
- The average order size during the Prime Early Access sale was $47, down from $60 on Prime Day 2022 (Source)
- 9% of shoppers said they weren’t aware of the sale before visiting the site (Source)
Although numbers may be down overall when compared to Prime Day, Tinuiti’s own Karie Casper and David Khoshpasand share how these stats might not be considering the full picture…
“Comparing Prime Early Access to Prime Day is an unfair comparison given awareness and overall uncertainty of the event. For example one brand saw 22% less units sold during Prime Early Access Sale than during Prime Day yet saw a 6,378% increase in units sold over last year. The real question is if the sales lift will be incremental to Q4 sales or if we’re only pulling forward the holiday shopping period.”
— Karie Casper, Strategist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti
“For one of our clients, the Prime Early Access Sale Day one generated 27% higher Sales than Prime Day in July with increased Spend (+22%), higher efficiency (ACOS -4%), and a +113% lift in NTB Sales, proving to be a successful event to invest in if replicated next year.”
— David Khoshpasand, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti
Impact on Q4 Sales Leading Up to Black Friday
The number of retailer holidays—or shopping holidays—has been increasing for years, in the US and beyond. This increase has been seen in both general and site-specific promotional events, including (but not limited to):
- Singles’ Day
- Black Friday
- Small Business Saturday
- Cyber Monday
- Giving Tuesday
- Prime Day (Amazon)
- Deal Days (Target)
- Deals for Days (Walmart)
For decades, most Americans considered Black Friday the official start of the holiday shopping season. In fact, the Black Friday concept itself has the same birthplace as America, beginning in Philadelphia in the 1960s.
Philadelphia retailers had the right idea, aiming to attract more shoppers to their stores while the city was packed with tourists for the Army-Navy game. It was a one-weekend opportunity to secure as many sales as possible before many of those potential customers headed back home.
But in the 1960s…there was no internet. And most people still did the majority of their shopping in-person, during normal business hours—outside of mail order catalogs, milk deliveries, etc.
For today’s online retailers, every minute of every day is a sales opportunity, and the physical conditions from which Black Friday was born no longer limit when those savings spectaculars can begin.
Amazon’s Deals Were Primed for Holiday Shoppers
The impact of Amazon’s Early Access Deals event on retailers’ Black Friday sales ultimately comes down to how much of their holiday shopping folks wrapped up during the event—both on Amazon, and at competing retailers. And the numbers show that while many put a dent in their shopping, they’re far from crossing every name off their list.
As Numerator’s Prime Early Access Sale Tracker showed:
“29% of Prime Early Access shoppers 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.”
That 29% lines up perfectly with the results from Tinuiti’s 2022 Holiday Shopper Study, with 30% of our survey respondents saying they planned to start holiday shopping in October, or earlier.
While many shoppers referred to the event as Prime Day 2 or Fall Prime Day, its official name being Prime Early Access Sale indicated that unlike July’s Prime Day, this fall event was intentionally designed with the holiday shopping season in mind.
When reviewing the most prominently displayed deals on Amazon, we found many aligned with gift-giving—much more heavily than summer’s official Prime Day event. The summer sale did include steep discounts on some higher ticket and non-essential items, but there was also a noticeable focus on providing an assortment of deals that allowed Prime members to stock up on everyday essentials at lower prices.
For the fall event, those deals on snacks and household goods were still there—particularly in highly personalized sections influenced by shopping history, covered below—but less of an obvious highlight. Instead, the home page was awash in holiday wish list must-haves above the fold, including electronics and toys.
KUWA: Keeping Up With Amazon
Additionally, as we’ve come to expect when Amazon runs a large promotional event, other retailers joined in with savings of their own. These included Target Deal Days, Walmart Rollbacks and More, and Kohl’s 2-Day Deal Dash, to name a few. For folks that were ready to shop, the holiday-friendly deals were far and wide, from robes to Roombas.
There’s only one retailer whose promotions have such an ecommerce-wide impact that it calls on other retailers across myriad industries to respond in kind, and as we know well, it’s Amazon. Because there’s only one Everything Store.
This year, according to Numerator’s findings, surveyed shoppers were nearly evenly split on whether they’d be scoping out competing deals from other retailers, or keeping it on Amazon:
“48% of Prime Early Access shoppers only considered Amazon for their purchases, while 52% considered other retailers. The majority of Prime Early Access shoppers (60%) only shopped at Amazon during the two-day sale period, but 24% made a purchase at another retailer or website, as well.”
And in that sense, this event was a modern version of Philadelphia’s Army-Navy game weekend. Retailers knew in advance that everyone would be (virtually) in town and ready to browse, price compare, and ultimately purchase. They met those virtual crowds with deals on desirable, in-stock products, at a time when customers better understand today’s supply chain struggles mean there are no guarantees.
As the numbers show, many shoppers chose to avoid FOMO and grabbed those items now while they’re available. But..they also have a lot of shopping left to do!
Inflation Concerns Were Still Top of Mind
While everyone appreciates a good deal, inflation and the rising cost of goods was still top of mind for many shoppers. As we covered, the average consumer spent less than $20 during Prime Early Access Sale despite significant deals on larger ticket items like TVs, electronics, toys, and more.
“26% (of shoppers) passed on a good deal because it wasn’t a necessity. Inflation also drove 13% of individuals to look at prices outside of Amazon before buying.”
2022 Prime Early Access Deals Wins [Successful Marketing Strategies]
The Prime Early Access Sale left us with new insights and trends to keep in mind as the busy holiday shopping season approaches. Let’s take a look at some of the top marketing strategies and successes we took note of during the sale.
Perfectly Timed for Halloween Sales
Halloween is the favorite holiday of countless adults and children alike. And while the Early Access Deals event wasn’t Halloween-focused, the timing couldn’t be better for retailers offering Halloween essentials. We saw some spooktacular savings on costumes, candy, fall and Halloween home decor, and more.
When building your marketing strategy for any shopping event, it’s beneficial to consider your and the event’s primary goals, but also to ask yourself, “What else is happening?” Leverage these high-traffic opportunities to gain visibility and sales not only for the more obvious holiday season, but for any other holidays or events folks might be shopping for that align with the promotional period, including personal holidays like birthdays and anniversaries. As Numerator’s Amazon Prime Early Access Verified Buyer Study found, 19% of survey respondents said they planned to shop for gifts for non-holiday occasions.
Past Shopping Behavior Matters: Recommended Deals for You
In the ‘Recommended deals for you’ section, shoppers are shown some of the available savings on items tailored to their specific interests, based on past browsing and shopping behavior. For me, this included Mary Ruth’s supplements, razors, and dog waste bags, items I shop for frequently.
This shows the butterfly effect of securing visibility and purchases at any time of the year, planting the seeds for increased exposure for your deals, with a very relevant audience, during high-traffic events.
4+ Star Deals for You
Past browsing and purchase behavior alone isn’t the only thing that can increase your visibility for relevant audiences; having strong reviews can also give your promotional efforts more exposure in personalized sections.
Similar to the “Recommended deals for you” section, the items found here are all tailored to a given shopper’s interests. However, the items within this section are not only relevant to them, but have also secured at least a 4-star review average.
This benefits shoppers in two primary ways:
- They know that other shoppers have largely been satisfied with their purchase
- If they have any questions or concerns about the item that aren’t answered for in the description, they can scan the reviews for more information or ideas
Lightning Deals Showed Up and Showed Out
Many brands took advantage of Amazon Lightning Deals during the Prime Early Access Sale to showcase their products. These deals are an extremely effective tool considering they are time-sensitive, lasting typically between 2-6 hours, encouraging shoppers to act quickly.
“One of our clients ran a lightning deal on day two of the Prime Early Access Sale and we saw incredible results. With a combination of on-site marketing and external traffic to Amazon via email blasts, SMS, and TikTok, we saw the highest best sellers ranking we have seen to date (#5 in grocery & gourmet food).
— Tanya Valle, Sr. Strategist, Marketplaces at Tinuiti
Quick Tips: How to Apply Prime Early Access Deal Learnings to Upcoming Holiday Shopping & Overall Amazon Business
Let’s explore some of the holiday-focused Early Access deals, and what you can learn from them to apply to your own Amazon marketing campaigns…
The Deal: Buy $50 Amazon gift card, get a $10 credit—Shoppers could purchase a single gift card with a minimum value of at least $50—from a selection of top brands, including Amazon—to receive a $10 promotional credit on their next eligible purchase (one $10 promotion credit per customer).
Marketing Tip: The ‘give a gift, get a gift’ promotion is especially common during the holiday season, for gift cards and more, and is something worth considering in your own holiday initiatives. The ‘gift for you’ that shoppers receive with a purchase can be a physical item (ie. free gloves with $50 purchase), or as Amazon has done, it can be designed to benefit future purchases.
As for which option is best, it ultimately comes down to your goals. Offering customers a free gift that will ship with their order may help in securing more sales now, while offering a percentage or dollar amount off a future purchase aims to keep the orders coming after the holidays.
The Deals: Deep Discounts on Toys & Games—Nothing says ‘holiday season’ quite like savings on toys, and there were plenty for parents and kids-at-heart to choose from during the Early Access Deals event.
Notably, we found sales on toys at all price points, and for kids of all ages and interests. Some of the most highly visible toy deals on Amazon included:
- Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad bundle (40% off)
- Toys from Play-Doh, Playskool, Peppa Pig and more (Up to 48% off)
- Barbie Dolls and Playsets (Up to 48% off)
- National Geographic Rock Tumbler Kit (32% off)
Marketing Tip: Consider crafting deals for items at varying price points to capture both high-ticket sales, and a high volume of sales. For example, while a clothing retailer might first consider what their deals will be for outerwear, jeans, and tops—items with high individual price tags—they should also factor smaller items into their advertising strategy, like socks and fashion accessories.
Not only can this result in increased visibility and overall sales, but these smaller purchases may serve as an introduction to your brand for new shoppers. Perhaps they wouldn’t impulsively add an expensive coat from a brand they weren’t familiar with to their cart, but a low risk, high-quality item could seal the deal on future purchases.
Interested in learning more about Amazon advertising or looking to level up your Amazon strategy going into the holiday season? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us today for more information.