Amazon shoppers snap up potato chips, toilet paper for Prime Day
Amazon.com Inc. shoppers are snatching up potato chips, crackers, toilet paper and other non-perishable grocery store items to take advantage of the online retailer’s Prime Day deals, which could be bad news for Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walmart Inc.
Sales of consumable products on Amazon during the first nine hours of Prime Day — a two-day sale that began Monday — are about triple what they are on a typical sales day, according to CommerceIQ, which helps hundreds of consumer brands sell products on the e-commerce site.
The results show Prime Day’s appeal stretches beyond electronics, appliances and other big-ticket purchases shoppers usually put off until there’s a big promotion. Sales of car seats, appliances and toys were up four to five times a typical day, according to CommerceIQ, which is about the usual rate for a sales event.
Shoppers will spend $5.8 billion on Amazon over the two days, according to an estimate from Coresight Research. That’s an 11% increase from last year’s 36-hour sale when converted to spending per hour. Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 as a way to lure new Prime members, who pay monthly or yearly fees in exchange for shipping discounts and other perks like video streaming.
The uptick in spending shows Amazon Prime Day continues to have strong appeal to shoppers despite competing sales events offered by rivals from Walmart to Target and eBay.
Amazon doesn’t disclose specific sales information about Prime Day. Some companies are able to gain insights through their own sales on the site or estimations based on sales rankings and other information Amazon discloses.
This year, some used the high-profile event as a way to garner attention for their protests against Amazon.
At a warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota, workers planned a strike to raise awareness for workers’ conditions. A group of tech workers in Seattle, called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, is supporting the strike.
On Twitter, Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren voiced her support for the workers as well.
Amazon says it already offers what the workers are asking for.
“We provide great employment opportunities with excellent pay – ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more,” spokeswoman Brenda Alfred said in a statement in response to the planned strike.
The company has faced labor unrest before in Shakopee and in Europe .
In New York, a coalition of labor groups planned to deliver 250,000 petitions to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Manhattan home calling on the company to cut business ties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and end abusive working conditions in its warehouses. And some on Twitter called for a blanket boycott of Amazon during Prime Day.
San Diego State University Marketing Professor Steven Osinski said the protests were unlikely to have an effect on sales. “I don’t think it will have an impact, Americans liking discounts will trump worrying about higher wages for two days,” he said.
Other retailers have introduced sales to compete against Prime Day. Walmart has a “summer savings event” through Wednesday. Best Buy, eBay, Target and other retailers are also offering discounts.
“It’s something that shows you the power of Amazon that almost every other retailer is trying to capitalize on the traffic we’re seeing online today with promotions by just about everybody,” said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.
Some people may have delayed purchases until Prime Day, or are making back-to-school shopping purchases ahead of that season. “Amazon has changed the consumer psychology in terms of summer shopping,” he said.
Amazon kicked off the event with a star-studded concert headlined by Taylor Swift.
The company says it has more than 100 million subscribers to its Prime loyalty program, which costs $119 a year and provides free two-day shipping, free-streaming movies, TV shows and music, and other perks.
The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed.