Amazon’s annual sales holiday, Prime Day, has typically been a global event — one so big, it often crashes the Amazon retail website as consumers. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the retailer’s plans. Today, Amazon officially confirmed reports that it will delay Prime Day in the U.S. until sometime later this year. It will also host a Prime Day in India next month, from August 6 through August 7.
This will be the first time that Prime Day didn’t occur on the same day for all participating markets — a list that has been gotten longer over the years, as Amazon expanded Prime Day outside the U.S.
Prime Day 2019, for example, brought the sales event for the first time to the United Arab Emirates, which then joined other markets, including the U.S., U.K., Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and Australia.
It’s already clear that Prime Day was running late. Last year’s event was held July 15 through July 17, and prior events were also held around the same time frame.
It’s not surprising the COVID-19 pandemic shifted Amazon’s focus. Instead of needing a special event to boost otherwise slower summer sales, Amazon was hit with a deluge of online orders as U.S. government lockdowns kicked in, that it initially had to limit shipment of some items in order to keep up with demand for household staples, medical supplies, and other frequently-ordered products. In addition, Amazon announced on April 30 it had hired over 175,000 additional people to work in its fulfillment and delivery network to meet the increased customer demand.
The overall e-commerce market is surging due to the pandemic. According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales will climb by 18% in 2020 to reach $709.78 billion, representing 14.5% of total U.S. retail sales. Amazon, as a result, will also increase its market share to 38% this year, the firm estimated.
In other words, Amazon doesn’t really need a Prime Day this year. It’s doing just fine, thank you very much.
News of a Prime Day delay have been making the rounds for months.
In April, Reuters reported Amazon delay Prime Day due to coronavirus until at least August. In July, CNBC said Prime Day had been pushed to October.
Amazon says it still intends to host the U.S. Prime Day this year, but isn’t saying when. It also wouldn’t confirm if other non-U.S. markets will be held at the same time as the U.S. Prime Day, as before, or if they will each see their own, individual Prime Day events, like India.
The Prime Day event in India will start at midnight on August 6 and run until August 7, offering deals and savings, including those on entertainment offerings, Amazon says.
“Over the last five years, Prime Day has become a special celebration and time for Prime members to shop incredible deals for themselves and for friends and family – and it’s something we look forward to every year,” an Amazon spokesperson said, in a statement about the new dates.”This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual, while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers and selling partners. We are excited Prime members in India will see savings on August 6-7, and that members all around the world will experience Prime Day later this year. We look forward to sharing more details soon,” they added.