Amazon Prime Day Brings in a Record $3.5 Billion for Third-Party Sellers. Holiday Shopping May Never Be the Same

Prime Day got a serious pandemic bump.

Amazon’s two-day sale for its more than 150 million paid Prime members generated more business for third-party sellers than any other 48-hour period, according to the company. Sales rose nearly 60 percent over last year to $3.5 billion, potentially kick-starting the holiday shopping season in October. Prime Day’s third-party sellers’ sales rose “even more than Amazon’s retail business,” according to the company.

Typically, the e-commerce giant reports its own Prime Day sales at the same time as its third-party sellers, but this year released only the latter. Unsurprisingly, products friendly to pandemic lifestyles were the top-selling categories, included bedding, wireless accessories, nutrition and wellness, arts, crafts, and sewing, and health care items.

Christmas is arriving very early this year, says Melissa Horvath, founder and CEO of Pittsburgh-based home goods company Sweet Water Decor.

“People are already starting to shop for the holidays,” she says. “We’ve never seen these kinds of numbers before.” This year’s Prime Day was Sweet Water Decor’s best yet and tripled the company’s average daily sales, according to Horvath, who offered discounts of 20 to 50 percent. She says that she also experienced a “halo effect” from Prime Day, positing that it led to an increase in sales of her candles, coffee mugs, and other home goods on Etsy and her own website. Sweet Water also sells in brick-and-mortar stores like Francesca’s and Nordstrom Rack.

Julie Stott and Jo Baar, co-founders of Orange County, California-based jewelry company Honeycat, shared Horvath’s excitement about the early holiday sales pop. Stott and Baar have been selling on Amazon for six years but offered Prime Day promotions for the first time, despite having been skeptical of the sale’s impact. No more. The pair report that Prime Day produced their best 48-hour sales period ever, and say they wouldn’t be surprised if Prime Day is more successful than Cyber Monday or Black Friday for them in 2020.

“You can never know how Prime Day can help you until you try,” Stott says. She also noted that making video ads on the site has been helpful for reaching new customers. “Experiment with what ads and marketing tools are available to you,” she says, “and take advantage of any new feature.”

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