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Amazon Prime Day 2021 Analysis: Sales and Advertising Results and Insights
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After facing last year’s pandemic-related challenges, 2021 marks a bit of a return to normalcy for brands and retailers, with Amazon’s annual Prime Day event back to its traditional summer schedule.
Despite its summer return, Prime Day was held earlier than usual this year. The move to June was in part influenced by the fact that July is a typically busy month for family vacations and, this year, will also feature the start of the Olympics. Amazon also likely moved up the dates out of anticipation for continued supply-chain issues related to the pandemic.
How did the event’s new date impact consumer behavior? More important, what impact did these factors have on brands and sellers, in terms of both their approach to the event and their performance?
Overall, businesses certainly experienced growth with their Prime Day efforts, with the first day of the 2021 Amazon event driving the most online sales in a 24-hour period so far this year. In particular third-party sellers saw a 100% year-over-year sales increase and had the biggest two-day selling period yet during Prime Day 2021, according to Amazon.
However, early data indicates that the results from this year’s event were modest compared with past years’ events. Concerns over supply-chain issues coupled with the shift away from last year’s October dates — which coincided with the start of the Q4 holiday shopping season — have made a noticeable impact on Prime Day 2021 results.
In this report, we examine Feedvisor customer sales and advertising data across Amazon’s U.S. marketplace during Prime Day events from 2019–2021, identifying key trends and KPIs to share our insights and projections for the remainder of the year.
Read on for more exclusive insights into this year’s Amazon shopping event and discover how leading brands and retailers are adapting to the changing Prime Day and e-commerce landscape.
Increased Competition Drives Higher Cost of Sales
Another challenge brands and sellers had to face this year was the increase in competition over Prime Day advertising. According to Feedvisor customer data, ad spend was up 93.6% during Prime Day 2021 compared to 2020, while it was only up 43.7% for 2020 versus 2019.
Additional key indicators of the change in consumer behavior this year are impressions, which were much lower compared to last year. Overall, impressions only grew 32.5% in 2021 versus 2020, while they increased by 74.7% for 2020 compared to 2019.
In particular Clothing, Shoes, and Jewelry saw impressions decline by 2.9% this year, while they grew by an astonishing 173.2% the year prior. Electronics experienced a dip as well, seeing impressions fall by 18.9% for Prime Day 2021.
Although overall impressions did not grow as fast in 2021 versus 2020, the Beauty and Personal Care category continued its positive trend, seeing impressions rise by 68.5% in 2021 compared to 2020, while it grew by 45.5% for 2020 versus 2019.
Still, increased advertising investment helped brands and retailers drive Prime Day returns. Ad sales were up 25.7% across categories this year, a strong follow up after seeing ad sales grow by 35.9% in 2020 compared to 2019. In particular, the Electronics category performed well again this year, with ad sales growing by 47.4% in 2021 versus 2020, on par with its 48.8% growth in 2020 versus 2019.
Home and Kitchen ad sales also grew by 49.2% in 2021 compared to 2020, following a 49.3% increase for 2020 versus 2019. The continued growth of ad sales amid rising ad spend is a testament to how essential advertising has become to effectively compete on Amazon’s marketplace. Indeed, only those who invest heavily in their advertising strategies are seeing strong sales results. Make sure you have a solution in place that will maximize your ad performance like Feedvisor’s “AI-first” optimization platform and team of Amazon 1P and 3P experts.
An historically competitive selling period, Prime Day sales came at a higher cost due to escalating costs per click (CPCs) and costs per impression (CPM). Across categories, CPCs increased by 28.6% for Prime Day 2021 compared to 2020, while they fell by 13.6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
However, the Grocery and Gourmet category did see CPCs fall by 18.9% this year, while returns on advertising spend (RoAS) increased by an impressive 44%. Total RoAS across categories, however, declined by 18.3% during this year’s event compared to 2020.
The stunted growth again shows the power of Prime Day coinciding with last year’s Q4 holiday shopping season, and its effects on consumer behavior.
Prime Day 2021 Sales Show Modest YoY Growth
Following an impressive 2020 event, which brought in $3.5 billion in sales for third-party sellers, Prime Day 2021 sales did not grow as fast as the year prior. According to Feedvisor customer data, Prime Day total sales were up just 0.3% in 2021 versus 2020, while they grew 5.2% in 2020 compared with 2019.
While Clothing, Shoes and Jewelry dominated during last year’s Prime Day, increasing total sales by 27% in 2020 versus 2019, the category’s total sales decreased 6.9% in 2021 compared to 2020. Electronics also experienced a dip, growing total sales by 1.5% in 2020 compared to 2019, while only growing by 0.1% in 2021 versus 2020.
This data indicates these categories benefited from the event occurring during the Q4 holiday shopping season last year, a critically important selling period for brands and retailers. This year, the numbers fell flat with Prime Day’s return to summer, while the move to June may have been a strategic decision by Amazon to avoid the usually slower selling months later in the summer.
According to 2020 Feedvisor consumer research, nearly 64% of consumers started their holiday shopping last year on or before Prime Day. In addition, 36% of consumers said they expected to find the best 2020 holiday deals on Black Friday. Since this year’s event fell well before the holiday season, major holiday categories like Electronics and Clothing, Shoes, and Jewelry likely did not get a boost from any early gift-buying behavior.
Instead, consumers likely focused more on back-to-school items this year, with Amazon noting that its more than 200 million worldwide Prime members purchased more than 600,000 backpacks, 240,000 notebooks, and 220,000 Crayola products.
Not only did brands and retailers have to adjust their strategies for the shift in dates and consumer behavior, but they also had to account for the rise in supply chain costs, as well as any issues that affect their inventory and ability to meet demand. These factors may have led businesses to shy away from investing heavily in Prime Day promotions.
Feedvisor Amazon expert and Associate Director of Managed Services and Strategic Accounts Alex Lannigan says that, while sellers still ran coupons and sured up inventory levels to capitalize on increased traffic during Prime Day, this year, many scaled back because of higher costs, instead focusing their efforts on preparing for the critical Q4 holiday shopping season.
As brands and retailers start to think about how they will attract holiday shoppers this year, make sure your business has the most advanced technology and team of experts in place who can help you get the most out of your Q4 pricing and advertising strategies.
Learn what Feedvisor can do for your business.
When you partner with Feedvisor, you automatically receive access to our true, AI-driven technology and hands-on team of e-commerce experts. Contact one of our team members today to learn more about our end-to-end solution for brands and large sellers on Amazon, Walmart, and e-marketplaces.