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Amazon’s fall sales event estimated to have fallen short of Prime Day — while still raking in billions

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Amazon said that “tens of millions” of Prime members shopped its October sales event this week, with customers buying more than 100 million items from third-party sellers on its Marketplace, according to a Thursday press release.

The event, meant to kick off the holiday season, follows Amazon’s traditional Prime Day in July. Some outside estimates show the e-commerce giant’s October event falling short of Prime Day.

According to consumer data firm Numerator, the average order size during the Prime Early Access sale in October was $46.68, down nearly 23% from Prime Day in July.

Bank of America analyst Justin Post estimated that Amazon’s October event generated $8 billion in gross merchandise volume, a 25% decline from $10.7 billion in GMV for the July Prime Day sale.

In revenue terms, that would mean around $5.7 billion for Amazon compared to Post’s $7.5 billion revenue estimate for Prime Day.

Even though it fell short of this year’s Prime Day, Post pointed to upside for Amazon going into the holidays. “Ultimately, we view this Early Access event as incrementally beneficial, as both a branding event for Prime and potentially smoothing holiday demand aiding with logistics,” Post said in the note. 

Amazon said some of the best selling items from the event included Macbook Air M1 laptops, Peloton bikes, Bose brand earbuds and headphones, Casper pillows and toppers, and Shark hair dryers, vacuums and air purifiers. At the category level, Amazon said apparel, home, toys and the company’s own devices were among the best sellers. The company specifically cited over 8 million toys in the U.S. sold during the sale. 

Those categories largely track with Numerator’s findings as well, which found (based on surveys) the most popular categories to be (in order), household essentials, health and beauty, apparel and shoes, toys and video games, and electronics.

Of those Early Access shoppers, 29% said they used the sale to buy holiday gifts, and 95% said they’re likely to shop Amazon for more gifts as the season winds on, according to Numerator.

With consumers grappling with inflation, retail observers are watching to see whether consumers pounce on early sales, or hold out for better deals. Target and others are also launching holiday-themed sales events in October.

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