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Prime Day in October: What Does it Mean for Holiday Shopping?

Prime Day had often been referred to as “Christmas in July” in past years.

But this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, Prime Day was delayed three months and is set for Oct. 13-14.

In 2020 this annual two-day event could signal the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

It’s only six weeks before Black Friday/Cyber Monday, traditionally the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

Prime Day 2020 could attract millions of consumers who want to get their holiday shopping done early and save money doing it.

Add to the mix Walmart’s new premium loyalty program, Walmart+, and this holiday shopping season is going to be tough.

What does this all mean for holiday shopping in 2020?


Holiday Shopping Has Been Starting Earlier

Thanksgiving weekend has been the traditional start of holiday shopping, but the season has been moving up.

According to our 2020 Prime Day Data Study, 48% of millennials start their holiday shopping before October.

It seems like holiday shopping has started earlier each year.

With Prime Day in October this year, Amazon could claim the unofficial starting point for the holiday shopping season.

And for some consumers, the bulk of their holiday spending could occur over the next two days.

COVID-19 has driven more people to shop online than ever before. And people tend to shop online with the brands they have relationships with – Like Amazon.

Nearly a third of U.S. holiday sales this year will be made online.

Consider that 64% of consumers are less inclined to shop on Black Friday this year, and 59% less inclined to shop on Cyber Monday.

Collectively, these factors could make this year’s Prime Day the most memorable one ever.

By moving Prime Day to October, Amazon could significantly impact the holiday shopping season.


Prime Day is About Acquisition

For Amazon, the original concept behind Prime Day was about the acquisition of members.

And that hasn’t changed.

Amazon strategically markets Prime Day to consumers, offering free trial memberships ahead of the annual two-day shopping extravaganza.

It’s easy to see why Amazon loves acquiring new Prime members: They spend twice as much as non-members.

And this year, Amazon is already enticing Prime members by offering a $10 credit towards a purchase on Prime day for spending $10 with one of its U.S.-based small businesses now until October 12. 

In the past 15 years, Amazon has continued to add attractive benefits to Prime.

Benefits include music, movies, photo storage, and grocery delivery. These benefits make Prime a holistic program that touches every aspect of our lives.

When you have an attractive premium loyalty program like Prime, why not advertise it during the busiest shopping season of the year?

Especially considering our study found that 46% of consumers have joined a loyalty program solely to use the discounts and perks during the holiday shopping season.

Also, 86% of consumers are more likely to do their holiday shopping at a retailer where they are already a loyalty member.

Prime Day in October is a new thing for Amazon, but the timing may be just right this year.

For many consumers, Prime Day is a unique holiday, in and of itself.

We found that 76% of consumers prepare and research prices and discounts before shopping on Prime Day.

And 76% of consumers wait to make a specific purchase because they know the price will be better on Prime Day.

So, while Prime will be impactful from a sales perspective, it’s really about the member acquisition.

If the pandemic wasn’t enough, this will put more pressure on every retailer.


There’s Still Hope for Other Retailers

Although Prime Day presents a challenge for every retailer this holiday season, there is a silver lining.

There’s room for more than one premium loyalty program in peoples’ hearts and wallets.

Consider that nearly 70% of consumers plan to join additional premium loyalty programs, like Prime, this year.

Walmart and Target have already announced their special shopping holidays in October.

A byproduct of Prime Day is the halo effect and exposure it creates for other retailers, who use this time to offer their attractive sales.

The first 24 hours of Prime Day last year generated a 66% revenue lift for other e-commerce retailers.

Also, research shows that more than 75% of Prime Day shoppers in the U.S. visit competitor websites to make sure they’re getting the best deals.

It may be Amazon’s “Day”, but other retailers can take advantage of the wave of online holiday shopping activity this week.

Riding Amazon’s coattails on Prime Day is a wise strategic choice for retailers.


Listen to Your Customers

There are more than 100 million Prime members around the globe.

The program is beloved by millions of consumers, especially for its fast, free shipping.

That’s why Prime Day continues to be a huge success when it comes to member acquisition and retention.

If this mid-October Prime Day 2020 is as successful as many experts predict, this could become a staple event to launch the holiday shopping season.

That will pose a new set of challenges to retailers who have already had a year like never before.

But looking ahead to 2021, there’s good news.

Amazon has paved the way for premium loyalty programs and, based on our research, many consumers plan to join more of these programs in the future.

Now is the time to be bold.

Talk to your customers, but more importantly, listen to them.

Understand their pain points and find out how to provide them with loyalty program benefits with real value.

Then, consider building a premium loyalty program of your own to make the most of 2021.

With the rise of premium loyalty, especially with Walmart+, other retailers are probably having that conversation – Are you?


ebbo helps brands achieve their customer loyalty goals with full-service, end-to-end solutions and also creates original educational content straight from the experts to help loyalty marketers stay on the cutting edge of customer engagement.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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