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How to read the signals from Amazon’s Big Spring Sale

Amazon Big Spring Sale
Amazon is bringing its sales extravaganza model to springtime.

Amazon is at it again.

Amazon has just announced its newest seasonal sales extravaganza, the Big Spring Sale, which it will hold March 20-25. Featuring a curated selection of warm weather and spring-related merchandise, the sale follows in the tradition of other seasonal Amazon events such as Prime Day, Prime Big Deal Days, Holiday Beauty Haul and its Black Friday – Cyber Monday promotion.

Any time Amazon runs a major sale, it holds significance both for Amazon and for e-commerce in general. Let’s take a closer look at some specific aspects of the Big Spring Sale and what signals they send.

Seasonal sales work

When Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015, there was no guarantee that offering widespread (and often deep) discounts across its assortment, only for members of the Prime program, would be successful. Prime Day was also timed in mid-July, typically a slow period for retail.

But Prime Day has proven successful, growing to a record-breaking $12.7 billion in its most recent July 2023 edition. Amazon’s other annual seasonal promotions, some of which require Prime membership and some of which do not (more on that later), have also all become significant revenue-drivers for the e-tail giant.

Spring has traditionally been the time when home-centric retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wayfair run big seasonal promotions, but it sees less sales activity from retailers in other verticals. 

Considering Amazon sells in essentially every product category, it has every reason to be optimistic that a spring blockbuster will perform well, if not to the same level demonstrated by events held in the summer, fall or late fall/early winter holiday period.

The sincerest form of flattery

It didn’t take long for other retailers to start counterprogramming Prime Day with their own midsummer sales blowouts, and now something like 150 retailers offer some sort of alternative promotion timed to compete with Prime Day. 

Amazon has also been a trailblazer in extending the holiday shopping season, with early October’s Prime Big Deal Days advertised as the kickoff for purchasing gifts and surveys indicating many consumers use Prime Day as the starting date for buying holiday items.

Walmart, Target and Best Buy already offer early October holiday kickoff sales that compete with Prime Big Deal Days. They may or may not have time to put something together in time to provide an alternative to Amazon’s Big Spring Sale this year. 

However, rest assured if the Big Spring Sale produces successful results, at least a couple of Amazon’s top competitors will have their own spring extravaganzas in bloom for 2025.

Members only – sometimes

Prime Day and Prime Big Deal Days are both only open to Prime members. Beyond annual fees (which may be mitigated by free shipping perks), subscription programs offer retailers like Amazon a customer base with higher rates of retention, conversion, visits, and spending. Driving membership, which these events do, makes sense.

But not every Amazon sales event is a members-only affair. Holiday Beauty Haul, Black Friday-Cyber Monday and now Big Spring Sale are open to everyone, although Prime members get exclusive deals and perks. Target also restricts its summer and fall sales events to members of its Target Circle loyalty program, which unlike Prime is free.

Only Walmart has consistently offered its seasonal sales promotions to all consumers, although members of the paid Walmart+ membership program usually receive early access and other special benefits. 

Membership drives are good, but there is also value in simply opening your site (and/or stores) for everyone to save money while boosting sales and clearing inventory. Amazon appears to be hedging its bets by running promotions using both models, and usually a multi-pronged approach is the best approach. 

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