Prime Day –the event that all Amazon Prime members have come to look forward to annually – took place on July 12th and 13th. This year was Amazon’s eighth annual installment of the highly anticipated shopping days and as in past years, we’ve taken a look at how Amazon deployed email to support Prime Day.
Despite its somewhat fluid timing over the years, the event has maintained strong recognition and value credibility among Amazon’s vast customer base (an estimated 150 million Prime Members in the U.S. alone).
Using our Competitive Tracker platform, we analyzed Amazon’s Prime Day email activity and that of some key competitors. The data immediately below represent Prime-Day-themed emails for the Prime Day run-up, the event itself, and two days after. Our focus is on the email targeted to the seventeen countries for which Prime Day occurred on July 12th and 13th. India is excluded, as Prime Day occurs later there.
Prime Day receives extensive email support, which nevertheless reflects no more than 20% of Amazon’s total email activity during that period. Prime Day activity receives robust user engagement, mirroring Amazon’s overall success in optimizing email. Because Amazon officially unveils Prime Day with only a three-week lead-time, competitors have little opportunity to mount more than a token response, virtually none of which has received a consistent identity. User engagement with this email has been anemic compared to what Amazon drives with its Prime Day email.
Amazon kicked off its member-facing (as opposed to messaging directed at B2B vendors) Prime Day mailings around June 21st, with only ten related campaigns. Activity remained low until minor spikes on July 7th (24 campaigns) and July 8th (20 campaigns) and then remained in the range of 11-19 per day until peaking on July 12th (52 campaigns) and July 13th (49), tapering off rapidly in the two days after that.
As has been customary with this event, many Prime Day promotional offers were activated long before the actual event “started,” and many stayed in force beyond the “official” event end date.
During the period of our analysis, Amazon deployed over a half billion emails. We see a deployment of about 47 million emails on June 21st, with much smaller deployments thereafter, until spikes up to 40 million on June 28th, 44 million on July 6th, 92 million on July 12th, and 90 million on July 13th. Even one day after Prime Day officially “ended,” we see the deployment of 34 million, with another four million the day after that. All of those post-event mailings contained promotional offers identified with Prime Day.
Amazon’s email consistently produces industry-leading read rates, and its Prime Day emails are no exception, averaging about 27% for the period (versus 30% for total Amazon activity during the same period). Prime Day-related read rates exceeded 30% for five of the days we tracked and only went below 20% for four other days. High for the period was 38%, for the deployments on July 2nd.
Notable Email Examples
The table below shows nine examples of Amazon email supporting Prime Day, arrayed to represent activity from the beginning to the end of the analysis period.
As mentioned, Prime Day offers actually began more than two weeks before the official event dates. There was a large deployment one day after the official event end date. The mailings with limited send sizes tended to feature specific merchandise categories targeted to specific audiences. Although those were the ones that drove the highest read rates, all but one of the others drove read rates well exceeding 20%.
What About The Competition?
The relatively tame competitive email response to Prime Day is clear from looking at the high-volume emails deployed by six major multichannel U.S.-based competitors during or just before Prime Day. Examples are below. These brands each control email audiences we estimate to range from 40 million to more than 100 million. Yet there isn’t extensive activity obviously intended to counter Prime Day. Target has a unique event identifier (“Deal Days”), while Walmart uses a well-known promotional term (“Rollbacks”) almost unique to that brand. Macy’s and Best Buy fall back on “Black Friday,” once a post-Thanksgiving shopping hook, now a generic term for “big sale,” used year-round (and every day of the week) industry-wide. And these event “names” are not even consistent with terminology in other high-volume promotional emails these brands deployed during the same period. The read rates for this email are well-below those we track for Amazon’s Prime Day email support.
Amazon reportedly drove some $12 billion in global sales during the 2022 Prime Day event itself, up about 8% from the 2021 event, which occurred in June. Obviously, email was only one of many factors driving this success. But email’s unique contribution, along with Amazon’s powerful customer data asset, is delivering precisely targeted merchandise offers, based on known customer location, status, preference, as well as browse and purchase behavior. The combination is still unbeatable.
~ John Landsman, Manager, Research Analytics