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Study: More consumers shop Prime Day as holiday spending shifts

A new study reveals a substantial jump in the number of consumers shopping Amazon on Prime Day, with implications for the 2020 holiday season.

Based on an analysis of more than 43,000 verified U.S. Prime Day purchases, consumer insights platform Numerator determined that more than one in three U.S. households (36%) shopped Amazon on Prime Day 2020, up 56% from 23% in 2019. Three in 10 (31%) Prime Day shoppers were doing it for the first time.

While individual order sizes were down, consumers spent more, and placed more orders in total, on Prime Day. Average spend per order was $54.64 in 2020, down from $58.91 in 2019. However, Numerator estimates U.S. consumers spent $7.4 billion at Amazon on Prime Day, up 64% from $4.5 billion in 2019. Before the event, eMarketer forecast U.S. consumers would spend $6.17 billion.

In addition, Numerator found more than 135 million U.S. Amazon orders were placed on Prime Day, up 77% from 76 million in 2019. Numerator’s analysis also suggests that Amazon correctly anticipated its rescheduled Prime Day (due to COVID-19 concerns the 2020 event was delayed from July to October) would attract a large number of holiday gift shoppers.

For example, Amazon dedicated 25% of its advertising budget to gift cards, compared to only 1.6% in 2019, and gift card reloads and new Amazon gift cards landed on the list of the top six most-purchased items on Prime Day 2020. During the July 2019 edition of Prime Day, new gift cards did not make the top items list.

According to Numerator analysis, Prime Day gift buyers were more valuable shoppers than the average Prime Day buyer. These customers spent an average of $286.79, nearly twice that of the typical Prime Day buyer, and placed an average of five separate orders throughout Prime Day. 

A Numerator survey of verified Prime Day buyers about their holiday spending plans shows that nine in 10 Prime Day buyers plan to shop on Amazon again before the holidays. In addition, 65% of respondents said they expected to shop differently for Christmas or Hanukkah in 2020 than they have in years past. More than half (54%) said they expected to do all or most of their holiday shopping online, more than double the response to a similar survey in 2019 (22% of respondents).

About four in 10 (39%) respondents are planning to buy gifts on Black Friday, with only 34% intending to go in-store, while 90% plan to shop online. Amazon is poised to capture the largest share of these online gift shoppers, as 82% of respondents indicate they will shop on Amazon for holiday gifts. Almost three in 10 (29%) respondents purchased holiday gifts and, of those shoppers, 25% said that they completed at least half of their holiday shopping with their Prime Day purchase.

Numerator data also shows other retailers can also expect significant gains in their e-commerce divisions, but these increases may make up for the losses expected in their brick-and-mortar stores. The number of people planning to shop on for holiday gifts is up (48% in 2020 vs. 39% in 2019), but in-store is down (46% in 2020 vs. 61% in 2019). Similarly, respondents indicate can expect an increase in digital penetration (39% in 2020 vs. 29% in 2019), with physical stores expected to show a decrease (34% in 2020 vs. 47% in 2019).

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