COVID-19 Report

A Look Into Amazon Prime Day: Comparing 2020 to 2019

Friday, November 6, 2020 • 11:00 AM EST

Key Takeaways:

1. Prime Day 2020 saw 53% more gross volume, 47% more users transacting, and 59% more transactions than Prime Day 2019.
2. Despite a 4% drop in average order value in 2020, the total average spend per user went up by 4%, signalling that people are buying more frequently.
3. Amazon’s market share of spending on Prime Day grew from 43% in 2019 to 49% in 2020. The only brand to lose significant market share was Walmart, which dropped from 29% to 24%. Costco, Target, and Best Buy all stayed consistent from 2019 to 2020.

Amazon Prime Day is one of the largest shopping events of the year after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To better understand how COVID may have impacted Prime Day, Cardify analyzed Prime Day spending data across its panel, comparing 2019 to 2020. This comes as no surprise, as Amazon recently reported blowout Q3 profits owing to an increase in sales driven by the pandemic. So far, it seems predictions of increased ecommerce spend are true, but the report also found interesting data about customer demographics and Amazon versus its largest big box retail competitors.

A surge in spending

Our data found that Amazon had significantly higher average spend and transaction numbers in 2020 compared to 2019. In fact, since May 2020 Amazon has had weekly spend levels that are on par with Prime Day 2019 and the 2019 Holiday season, or roughly double average 2019 spend. Spend spiked even further on Prime Day 2020, hitting a record spend level in the window between April 2019 to October 2020. One thing to note is that while Prime Day 2019 was in July, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Prime Day 2020 until October 2020.

The spend surge came from more users transacting, more total transactions, and a higher average total spend per user. The only number that dropped was average order value, which dropped 4% from 2019 to 2020. 

However, spending online seems to be more entrenched in people’s lives, with a 47% increase in users transacting in 2020 versus 2019. Further, there were 59% more transactions in 2020 than in 2019. So even though average order value went down, the total average spend per person increased 4% year over year and gross order volume increased by 53% total.

Battle of the brands

A common refrain in ecommerce is “Amazon versus everybody” and that Amazon is a large monolith no one can compete against. While there’s some truth to that in terms of market share percentages, the data suggests it’s not Amazon versus everybody, but Amazon versus Walmart. Other big box brands seem to be holding their own.

Our panel looked at four large brands outside of Amazon: Walmart, Target, Costco, and Best Buy. During Prime Days 2019 (July 15-16th, 2019), Amazon had 43% of market share. That increased to 49% for Prime Day 2020 (October 13-14th, 2020). The only retailer to lose major ground was Walmart, dropping from 29% market share to 24% market share. All other brands had the same market share year over year. 

This should present some good news to other brands, as it seems that Amazon is out to steal Walmart’s lunch but brands that have a niche, for example Best Buy with technology, or have a community, for example Costco’s membership model, are holding their ground.

Little change in demographics from 2019 to 2020

We didn’t see a noticeable difference in gender, age range, or income levels when comparing Prime Day 2019 to Prime Day 2020. While data shows that more people are transacting and spending more, the demographic data doesn’t change much.

The biggest change to occur demographically is that 57% of buyers in 2020 were men versus only 53% of buyers in 2019. Age range was more or less the same year over year, with slight changes skewing younger. While the overall sample is more Millennial and Gen-Z focused, there is little change year over year. For instance, 70% of respondents were under the age of 34 in 2019, whereas that figure rose to 72% in 2020.

Similar to age, income levels had very little change from 2019 to 2020. The most significant dip was that 19% of buyers earned over $100,000 annually in 2019 whereas only 17% of buyers in 2020 earned the same. However, on the lower end of the income spectrum we see that in 2019, 9% of buyers earned less than $25,000 and 29% earned between $25,000 and $50,000 annually. In 2020, those figures rose to 10% and 30%, respectively, falling in line with many people losing part of their income, but not all, due to the pandemic.

It’s Amazon’s world

Amazon is a behemoth that makes other behemoths look small, so even small percentages can amount to millions of dollars. It’s also important to remember that Amazon invented Prime Day, which differentiates it from Black Friday which had more broad retail origins. Other retailers jumped on the Prime Day trend but it truly is still an Amazon shopping holiday, so market share numbers are unsurprising. Data from Prime Day 2019 versus 2020 suggests Amazon’s increasing dominance in the big box ecommerce world. Where other brands are able to hold their ground due to specific positioning, community, or other affinity, it really is Amazon’s world on Prime Day.