Amazon moving Prime Day to October is the latest example of the e-commerce giant's dominance of the retail calendar
- In response to the coronavirus pandemic,
Amazonmoved its Prime Day sales events to mid-October. Targetand Walmart — major brick-and-mortar competitors of the e-commercechain — followed suit.
- Edward Jones
retailanalyst Brian Yarmouth told Business Insider that Amazon's Prime Day has long been a major influence in the world of retail.
- "If they're not chasing Amazon, then why are they matching the deals?" he said.
Amazon's ascension into a retail behemoth has long prompted competitors to adopt new e-commerce and fulfillment strategies. But in 2020, during a pandemic that has upended both brick-and-mortar and online shopping, the Seattle-based giant's sway over the retail calendar itself is more apparent than ever.
Amazon has moved its Prime Day sales event this year to October 13 and 14 because of the coronavirus. Prime Day is normally held annually around July 15. However, earlier in the summer, leaked emails from Amazon employees revealed that the sales event would be delayed until at least October 5 as a result of the pandemic.
Target has so far followed in its competitor's lead, moving its Deal Days to the same dates, with Best Buy also committing to offering deals over the two-day period. Meanwhile, Walmart will host its Big Save event between October 11 and October 15. More retailers are likely to follow suit in scheduling sales events on or around Prime Day's mid-October kickoff.
Even as retailers double down on e-commerce in 2020 in the face of logistical tangles and fears over in-store crowds during the
"If they're not chasing Amazon, then why are they matching the deals?" Edward Jones retail analyst Brian Yarmouth told Business Insider. "Amazon commands such a significant share of retail and is growing so rapidly that I think retailers have to be aware and have to compete."
Yarmouth said that retail giants like Target and Walmart have largely caught up with Amazon, compared to years past "when they were still trying to ramp up their online offerings" along with curbside pickup, same-day delivery, and other enhanced fulfillment options.
The coronavirus pandemic will likely bring about "four years worth of penetration in online retail sales within four months," according to Yarmouth. That will pump up the pressure for retailers and encourage them to compete even more effectively with respective online offerings this year.
Amazon itself has also embraced brick-and-mortar. Foot traffic tracking firm Placer.ai found that Amazon's Prime Day saw enormous "offline impact" in 2019, as the e-commerce giant leveraged Whole Foods Market to boost online sales.
The heightened competition from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers also does not seem poised to snuff out Prime Day sales for Amazon. Consumer research firm CivicScience surveyed 943 Prime subscribers and found that around 54% of Prime members planned to shop on Prime Day. That's down just 1% from 2019.
Yarmouth likened Amazon to the Walmart of yesteryear, when the company's penchant for deep discounts was frequently cited as a reason to force grocery chain competitors like Kroger to slash prices.
"Everyone would get worried about the grocery store chains like Kroger and Albertsons like, 'Oh, these guys are going to have to match. Walmart's the 800-pound gorilla,'" Yarmouth said. "And I think that's kind of the same thing with Amazon. These guys are going to have to match them."
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