Amazon Prime Day has officially run its course for 2022, and the numbers tell a unique story. This year, shoppers were more reserved in their purchases, opting for essentials instead of the typical big-ticket items. The average order size was $52.26, up from $44.75, but most Prime Day items (76%) sold for under $30. And curiously, among the top-selling categories were Home and Household Essentials.  

It is critical to note that the differences in shopper behavior on Prime Day this year could be a reaction to broader economic conditions. According to data from Numerator, 83% of Prime Day shoppers say inflation impacted their Prime Day purchases. 34% say they waited for the sale to purchase a specific item, while 28% passed on a good deal because it wasn't a necessity. 

The most prominent trends we saw this Prime Day 

Essentials, not indulgences 

Overall, Prime Day shoppers opted for essentials rather than indulgences. Roughly 58% of orders placed were for items under $20, Numerator data showed, and shoppers bought more Household Essentials (29%) than Consumer Electronics (27%), changing the pace of this typically tech-heavy sales event. Certain products, like the best-selling Amazon Fire Stick ($12), checked both the affordable and electronics box, boosting the numbers in both categories.  

Best-selling deals may have changed significantly from previous years, but one category has been the star of Prime Day since its inception: sales from Amazon Devices. The company ran tons of promotions featuring coveted electronics on sale, including the Echo and Fire TV Sticks. To build momentum, Amazon also ran sales for its electronics in the weeks leading up to Prime Day. 

Amazon private label brands took center stage  

With Home and Household Basics as the 2nd and 3rd top-selling categories this Prime Day, it is hard to ignore the presence of Amazon’s Private Label Brands. Amazon has an in-house equivalent for most household basics, and because Amazon places them in the top search result space every time, those brands are taking up a larger ‘share of shelf’ every year. This Prime Day, Amazon discounted some items so steeply that it presented a challenge for our clients to maintain a strong presence in search results. Live streaming Thousands of creators streamed throughout Prime Day and Amazon Live Prime Day streams had more than 100M views this year. Growing its live shopping component has been a focus for Amazon, who invested in creators and celebrity cameos to promote deals and snag consumers. 

It was not without its flaws, though. In contrast to last year’s Prime Day, the live shopping feed this year felt cluttered and hard to find. In 2021, the live feed prominently featured on the homepage. This year, its less-desirable location resulted in lower viewership and softer brand search momentum. Amazon Live is still working out some kinks, but it is still a viable solution for brands who want to experiment with live shopping outside of traditional social media.  

Small businesses grew  

Last year Amazon focused the majority of their post-Prime Day press release around the success of small businesses on the marketplace. This year there was only a brief mention in the press release, but don’t let that mislead you — small businesses continue to grow and scale on Amazon. Small businesses on Amazon sold 100MM+ items in the weeks leading up to Prime Day 2022, amounting to $3B in sales. These figures represent a huge increase over last year, which came out to 70MM products sold and $1.9B in sales. The leap in small business performance is not a surprise, because it follows big investments from Amazon in the shopping experience, ramped up by marketing that drives to the shops. 

No longer “better together”  

Amazon has been pushing the “Better Together” narrative for most of the year, referring to Amazon search and display, but each channel performed differently: 

  • Day 1 sales on Prime Day were much slower than the prior year; advertisers experienced many attribution delays as well.  
  • Day 2 ticked upwards with Sponsored Ads; according to Amazon’s press release, US Prime customers shopped the most during Wednesday 8:00-9:00 PT. 
  • DSP Self-Service was difficult to scale; low spends across multiple verticals resulted in budget left on the table (and lost sales!). 
  • O&O inventory was expensive and sparse. 
  • DSP Managed Service scaled well and to plan. Recommendations for future tentpoles  

For brands 

  • Economic challenges will not go away for shoppers. Analyze and compare ASP’s (Average Selling Prices) and sell-throughs’ across products sold during Prime Day and assess “sweet spots” for future deal pricing in Q4. 
  • Inventory is volatile, especially with ongoing supply chain challenges. Momentum changes throughout the 2-day event as well. Plan deals accordingly and not just on Day 1 of Prime Day Deals should be active and visible throughout the 48-hour event. 
  • Brands are competing more than ever with Amazon private brands. To maintain brand relevancy, do not forget awareness tactics in lead-up to holiday activity. Amazon’s rich first-party data and STV options provide unique opportunities to reach and educate customers before these important sale days. 
  • Even if brands choose not to run Prime Day deals, there are still huge benefits to glean from Prime Day. For example, brands can leverage the high traffic days to build significant retargeting pools (conversion rates TBD) and reach new customers.  

For marketers 

  • This year, it was more important than ever to have an on-site presence on through search and display.  
  • Evaluate channel-mix to determine if media dollars were spent effectively to drive maximum sales. 
  • Amazon also offers marketing placements through its retail team, funded through trade marketing. It is important for agencies and brand managers to look at marketing holistically, including spend through Amazon Ads, merchandising placements, Twitch Crown, and more.

Learn more here.