Why Amazon Prime Day 2017 Could Blow the Past Two Years Out of the Water

Everything the "Everything Store" better known as Amazon  (AMZN)  does these days seems to be in pursuit of one goal: more Amazon Prime members. 

The e-commerce giant's upcoming third annual sales event for Prime members known as Amazon Prime Day is no different. Amazon announced recently that this year's event will kick off on July 10 at 9 p.m. ET and run through July 12 at 3 a.m. ET, with new deals being offered every five minutes. People who aren't Prime members already can sign up for a membership on or before July 11 to take part in the big sales event. 

"The strategy hasn't changed," Wedbush Securities managing director Michael Pachter said. 

Amazon's inaugural Prime Day in 2015 was created to celebrate the company's 20th birthday and led to more new Prime subscribers than any other day in the company's history, Amazon said. Amazon did not divulge Prime membership signups for its second Prime Day in 2016, but did note that overall sales jumped 60% from 2015. 

For Prime Day 2015, customers ordered 24.4 million items and broke all previous Black Friday records with 398 items ordered per second. "Going into this, we weren't sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event. After yesterday's results, we'll definitely be doing this again," Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley said at the time. 

Amazon Prime members pay $10.99 per month or $99 annually for free two-day shipping on many items, access to TV shows and movies and other perks. They're Amazon's most valuable customers because they end up spending an average of $1,200 per year on the website vs. the $500 per year that non-members spend in order to get the most out of their new perks, according to CIRP. 

While Amazon has been hush-hush about Prime membership figures, Cowen & Co. analyst John Blackledge estimates that there are 80 million Prime subscribers worldwide (Guggenheim Securities analyst Robert Drbul put the number at 65 million). For its part, Amazon typically notes that it has "tens of millions of members around the world" for Prime. 

Jeff Bezos' juggernaut has also figured out another way to pull in more sales on Prime Day by offering exclusive deals to Prime members who also own one of Amazon's device. As with Prime Day 2016, members who participate this year with an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV or Fire tablet will get some exclusive offers. 

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