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Prime Day 2021: Luggage and Home Improvement Soar During an Overall Modest Event

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Prime Day 2021 sales grew relatively modestly compared to last year’s Prime Day, up 6.1% to $11 billion across both days according to data from Adobe Analytics. Overall ecommerce spending fell 1% compared to Prime Day 2020, according to data from Salesforce. However, third-party Amazon sellers and certain retail categories achieved their own success stories, and advertising cost-per-click (CPC) didn’t spike much despite a significant increase in spend across the event.

One reason for Prime Day 2021’s somewhat low growth rate compared to 2020 is that last year’s event was a juggernaut, due both to the pandemic-fueled prevalence of ecommerce in general and because it was held in mid-October, effectively making it the gateway to the holiday season. When compared to Prime Day 2019, overall retail sales were more than 70%, according to Salesforce.

SMBs, Third-Party Sellers See Significant Growth

Amazon declined to offer hard sales numbers for Prime Day itself, but the retailer noted that customers spent $1.9 billion on small business products during the Spend $10, Get $10 leadup promotion. This figure is more than 2X the amount spent during the leadup to Prime Day 2020.

In a statement, Amazon called Prime Day itself “the two biggest days ever for small and medium-sized businesses in Amazon stores worldwide,” but the company didn’t provide further details. In 2020, the ecommerce giant disclosed that third-party sellers accounted for $3.5 billion in sales.

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Retailers with less than $10 million in annual revenue saw a 21% sales lift compared to the average June day, according to Adobe. Major retailers with more than $1 billion in revenue saw even greater success, with sales up 29% during the event.

The home improvement boom appears to still be in full swing, according to data from Similarweb. The solution provider found that patio, lawn and garden sales rose 97% on day one 2021 compared to day one 2020, while appliances generated a 59% increase and tools and home improvement saw a 21% increase.

Advertising Costs Hold Steady Despite Spike in Spend

Retailers were eager to make the most of Prime Day: average ad spend was up 3.7X compared to the daily average for June during the event, according to data from Skai. Day one ad spend in particular was up 44% compared to the first day of Prime Day 2020, 20% over Black Friday 2020 and 34% over Cyber Monday 2020.

Despite this increase, CPC for Prime Day 2021 was estimated at $2.25, only slightly higher than the $2.20 CPC in 2020, according to data from CommerceIQ. The average CPC on non-Prime days was $1.80 for both years. In comparison, the CPC during Prime Day 2019 was also $2.25, a 50% increase from the average of $1.50 during that year.

Travel and Home Improvement Sales Benefited Across Retail

Prime Day generated a halo effect for retail as a whole: June 21 year-over-year sales were up 16%, according to data from Salesforce. Average discount rates were 15% during Prime Day 2021, compared to 18% during Prime Day 2020. The average order value increased by 7% while the number of orders decreased 8%.

The biggest category during the event was luggage, likely driven by shoppers looking to embark on long-awaited vacations — the category’s sales rose 74% compared to Prime Day 2020. Furniture sales increased 67%, more proof that the home improvement trend started by the pandemic still has legs.

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