October 12, 2020

Retail Dive: Amazon Prime Day watch, will this be a shift in holiday shopping?

The global pandemic forced Amazon Prime Day, which spans Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, to move from its regularly scheduled date in July. This shift from the summer to mid-October paired with the general layers of uncertainty 2020 brings could be the start of consumers shopping for the holidays earlier than before.

I write more about this today in Retail Dive:
Black Friday's too late this year. Is Prime Day just in time?

A few important things to note:

  • Prime Day isn't just about Amazon anymore -- it acts a lot like Black Friday, or the Friday after Thanksgiving known to kick off the holiday shopping season. Several retailers including Best Buy , Walmart , Target , (and counting) will hold sales on the same days. It will be interesting to watch if Amazon keeps this October date, moves it back to July next year or creates something else - who knows? Retail Dive will be watching.
  • Moving the start of high volume shopping earlier is not necessarily a bad thing this year. Retailers need the extra time to smooth out supply chain and fulfillment issues. More consumers will order things online for the holidays and fewer people will be able - or want - to go to stores due to the pandemic. Amazon already released a gift guide last week to get a head start on gifting.
  • Retail faces a high level of chaos and uncertainty - without the usual travel and celebration, it's hard to know what people will WANT this year. People won't gather for Thanksgiving and the other holidays in nearly the usual numbers, so this may lead to especially meaningful gifts but the pandemic also has sparked a recession and people are worried about their finances, so spending less or looking for deep discounts.

To keep track of these issues plus so many other topics retailers will face during the last quarter of 2020 Retail Dive has a special Holiday Newsletter - sign up here