The online retail giant grew sales with discounts on electronics and apparel, while competitors saw sales fall year over year.

Amazon’s annual Prime Day two-day sale began on July 11, and early data shows sales grew but did not meet estimates.

Amazon ranks No. 3 in ’s new 2023 Global Online Marketplaces Report, and the annual Prime Day sale draws millions of shoppers. 

Spending and order size grew modestly

July 11 was the biggest ecommerce day of 2023 so far, according to Adobe Analytics data of 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites and 100 million SKUs. Adobe says U.S. consumers spent $6.4 billion on the first day of the sale, up 5.96% year over year. That’s only slightly lower growth compared with 2022, which was up 6.1% over 2021, per earlier Adobe data.

Sales growth didn’t meet Adobe’s forecast of 9.5%.

“Prime Day has become one of the biggest ecommerce moments of the year, as consumers latch onto major discounts from a number of different retailers,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights Vivek Pandya, in a statement. “The record spending so far shows us that consumers are tapping into their inner bargain hunters, stocking up on specific categories such as electronics and apparel while the discounts remain steep.”  

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The average order on the first day of Prime Day was $56.64, according to data research company Numerator. That’s up about 6.5% over $53.14 for the same period in 2022. The average household of Prime Day shoppers spent $134 on the first day of the sale, per Numerator, with 20% of households spending over $200.

Consumers focused on appliances, household and grocery products

Appliances led the day, with sales up 37% compared to the daily average in June, Adobe found. Toys, apparel and electronics sales were up 27%, 26%, and 12%, respectively.

Two of the top five products on July 11 were household and grocery products, Numerator found. One Amazon product made the top five list: the Amazon Fire TV stick. This marks a change from previous Prime Days. In 2022, three of the top five items were Amazon brand, and all five were in 2021, according to Numerator.

Home goods was the top category, according to Numerator’s survey of Prime shoppers, with 27% of respondents saying they’d made such purchases. It was closely followed by home essentials (26%) and apparel and shoes (25%). 21% of consumers said they purchased electronics, and 20% shopped for beauty products.

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Consumers looked at retailers beyond Amazon

Some of Amazon’s biggest competitors held online sales during Prime Day, and many savvy customers compared prices across retailers. 65% of surveyed shoppers told Numerator that they planned to shop other sales. Target (37%), Walmart (32%), and Costco (20%) were the most popular competitors. Over one-third of shoppers, 35%, did not plan to look beyond Amazon.

However, those competitors didn’t see the same growth as Amazon. Non-Amazon online sales during the first half of the day were down 10% year over year, per technology company Salesforce Inc. Electronics, footwear and furniture were the top categories at non-Amazon retailers in the first half of the day.

Some discounts were down, but consumers didn’t seem to mind

The most significant discounts July 11 on Amazon were electronics (16%), toys (15%), apparel (13%) and computers (10%), according to Adobe. Electronics were available at a much steeper discount than the 6% Adobe recorded in 2022. Computers were also slightly more discounted than last year, compared to 8% off regular prices in 2022.

Prime members were largely pleased with these discounts, according the the Numerator survey. 68% said they were extremely or very satisfied with the deals, and 67% believed deals so far were better or the same as last year. Just 15% said 2023 was worse than 2022, while 19% were unsure.

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Discounts were not as promising for shoppers at Amazon’s competitors. The average price discount among non-Amazon retailers is 18%, a 17% decrease from 2022, according to Salesforce. Average prices were up 6% over last year, a sign of continued inflation, per Salesforce.

Better sales could still be coming, though.

“With soft online sales reflecting lackluster online discounts, consumers in the U.S. shouldn’t despair. We anticipate retailers will ratchet up discounts before the end of Prime Day,” Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce, said in a statement. 

Not all prices are marked down on Prime Day, though. Last year, Amazon merchants raised prices 3% or more on 13.72% of the top 10,000 selling items on the Amazon marketplace, according to a report from Noogata, an artificial-intelligence data analytics platform for Amazon sellers.

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Early sales may have eaten into Prime Day

Many other retailers started sales earlier than Amazon’s official start.

“According to early data from Prime Day in the U.S., it looks like retailers may have beaten Amazon to the punch by running promotions last week,” Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce said in a statement.

More retailers held 4th of July promotions than offered site-wide sales to compete with Amazon’s Prime Days on Tuesday, according to a analysis of the Top 1000.

Amazon held its own pre-Prime Day sales, too. Crocs were the most popular item sold on Amazon during the week of June 26 through July 2, followed by the Kindle Paperwhite and Apple Airpods, according to web traffic measurement firm Similarweb Ltd.

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From July 1 to July 8, consumers searched for “portable air conditioners” and “electric bike” more than any other terms on Amazon. Crocs also remained popular, according to Similarweb. Searches for “Roku” and “TV” dominated the electronics category, and the Nintendo Switch was the most searched for video game term.

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