Prime Day is just around the corner and -- no surprise -- it's shaping up to be the biggest yet. But that's not all that's growing about the event.
The annual shopping event, which kicks off on Monday and this year runs for two full days, could net $6.14 billion in total sales according to a projection by Internet Retailer. That would represent a 46% increase over last year's Prime Day -- Amazon (AMZN) doesn't release sales figures for the event, but researchers pegged last year's sales at roughly $4.19 billion.
Amazon's shares are up 3.2% over the last five days and 33% for the year.
"One thing that will be the same [as previous years] is that Amazon will heavily market its own products. Echo devices, Fire Sticks -- those are always the top products sold just because Amazon is able to discount them so much," said Fareeha Ali, research director at Internet Retailer.
This year, Amazon says that "over 1 million deals" will be offered throughout the event. And if Prime Day promotional emails are any indication, in addition to discounts on devices and an array of products, Amazon will also heavily market its own services beyond Echos or other devices: Promoted deals include Prime Video movie rentals, Amazon Music trials, and various "Prime-exclusive" offerings, such as a $10 Amazon credit if you install Amazon Assistant, a suite of software designed to help identify the best online shopping deals.
That falls in line with the way in which Amazon Prime is evolving: The $119 per year service has more than 100 million members, but analysts believe that growth in new memberships has begun to taper off, at least in the U.S. As Moody's retail analyst Charlie O'Shea put it recently, this year's 48-hour shopping event is "yet another example of the flexibility Amazon has to push the pricing envelope, in this case to broaden and deepen the benefits to Prime members." Amazon also plans to introduce a 1-day shipping standard, rather than the current 2 days, later this year for Prime Members.
Another push that could distinguish this Prime Day from past years: Shoppers could see more name brands among the deals, according to Ali.
"We're anticipating that more branded manufacturers -- companies like Nike or other large brands that weren't selling on Amazon previously -- will be offering deals this year, based on conversations we're having with people in the industry," she added.
Sales of $6 billion would represent -- as in past years -- a considerable sales windfall for Amazon and strong growth over last year's sales. But it also represents a deceleration over prior year-over-year sales totals. By Internet Retailer's estimates, Prime Day saw sales growth of 74% between 2017 and 2018, which also included a 6-hour time extension.
So where could Prime Day go from here? Expect to see Amazon further flex its pricing power in offering time extensions for Prime Day, Ali predicted.
"Next year I wouldn't be surprised it's three days, and maybe eventually, we'll see Prime Weeks," she said.
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