July 15, 2019, one of 2019’s Prime Days, was the #3 online shopping day of the year, behind Cyber Monday and Black Friday, according to NPD Checkout. This year October 13 and 14 are looking to make their mark on retail, and the 2020 holiday season. In a year where everything is different – online shopping is bigger than ever, tangible products are the source of our experiences, and a new set of needs has emerged – NPD’s retail, consumer technology, and home industry advisors share their unique perspectives on the expected impact of this year’s Prime Days and the promotions that will surround them.
How will Prime Days impact the holiday shopping season?
"Welcome to the holiday season and a new retail dynamic. Prime Days will impact this year’s holiday season and overall retail spending even more now than in past years. Why? Prime Days’ timing later in the year creates a pull to move aggressive holiday campaigns earlier, and opens the door for deals from retailers of all sizes. Whether consumers shop on October 13 and 14 or not, the infusion of Prime Days and other associated retail events into the holiday season is going to transform the balance of the year for consumers and retailers at all levels, and how we navigate and read this different cadence to the holiday shopping season.
Just as retail has dealt with the challenges of both meeting and creating demand through much of this year, Prime Days will be faced with the same. The retailers’ ability to deliver enough of the products consumers want, and do so at a price that emotes urgency to purchase will determine how much of a game changer this event is on the holiday season. Regardless, it will be a tool for retailers and consumers to understand how to proceed down the brand new holiday path that lies ahead." – Marshal Cohen
"While an important kick off to the holiday season, the October timing of Prime Days, in the middle of such an unprecedented period of sales growth in consumer technology, will mute the impact to the industry. The tech industry is trying to encourage earlier purchasing this holiday, so Prime Days occurrence will be in the middle of a sales blitz from almost all industry players trying to encourage customers to buy early.
While sales growth may be strong for this year’s Prime Days, it will be built off of a lower base than year’s past and its success or failure will not be a harbinger for the overall tech market. October is typically the weakest month for technology sales, especially for premium technology items. However, we are anticipating this to be among the biggest Octobers ever due to the need to elongate the holiday season and the lateness of some of the normal September product introductions (such as iPhones). October is usually when we see some measure of remerchandising and rebalancing as older products are ready for promotion and the newest technology is available for purchase."– Stephen Baker
"Last year, Prime week was the 6th biggest week for sales of kitchen electrics, but this year it is surrounded by a new set of eating and living behaviors. Rather than summer entertaining, wedding and moving season, consumers are focused on needs for the school year, holiday planning, and moving indoors during a pandemic. The products consumers currently crave the most, and those marketed by the heavier promotional companies, will be the leaders. But, more than ever, the impact on the consumers and sales in the home industry will depend on how well we can educate, inform, and impart urgency among consumers.
Prime Days should still be an important event for the home industry despite sharing the stage like never before. Most consumers are buying for themselves during the traditional July Prime Days, and given the current importance placed on in-home living needs related to eating, creating family activities, and entertaining close-knit family and friends, there could be some incremental benefit during this year’s Prime Days, as well as Black Friday." – Joe Derochowski
Will October Prime Days help or hurt Black Friday retail sales?
"Though it’s been evolving, don't expect Black Friday to look at all like years past, and not just because of the consumer’s hesitancy to avoid crowds and their newfound fondness of shopping online. The infusion of Prime Days into the holiday season will play to this year’s emphasis on shopping early being better. In addition to the timing of Prime Days and the promise of the best prices of the season, there is a lingering memory of lines and empty shelves during the early stages of the pandemic among consumers that will make early shopping and the promise of timely delivery even more appealing." – Marshal Cohen
"If Prime Days are under the holiday umbrella, consumers will need to be convinced that they are getting a deal that is as good or better than the discounts offered over the Black Friday through Cyber Monday period. Manufacturers and retailers are ready to integrate this earlier-than-ever start to the season into their overall holiday program. However, the consumer’s readiness is a bit more of a mystery and will be dependent on how effectively the promotions are marketed. " – Joe Derochowski
"We are in a year unlike any other and that is the key difference – not the switch from Prime Day being in July vs. October. Consumer needs are different and tech products have remained high on that list. This holiday the tech industry is working to spread out sales to ensure demand can be met given inventory and logistical challenges in the face of unprecedented sales volumes. Since product demands have been high and consumers are willing to spend, it will be important that the tech industry offers consumers a compelling, in-demand product at a price that they need to buy now, rather than waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday offers."– Stephen Baker