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Amazon tries to one-up Black Friday with ‘Prime Day’

Prime Day’s over and the numbers are in. Amazon’s 24-hour online sales frenzy, held Wednesday for members of its Prime subscription service, was apparently a big hit, landing Amazon more business than its “biggest Black Friday ever” last year, the company said.

Held to celebrate the e-commerce giant’s 20th anniversary and available to online shoppers in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria; the campaign offered thousands of discounted items, the best of which we highlighted on the day.

Related: Wal-mart counters Prime Day with discounts of its own

The Seattle-based company said customers ordered 34.4 million items during Prime Day, or to put it another way, 398 items per second. In the U.S. alone it sold 47,000 TVs, marking a 1300 percent increase on last year; 41,000 Bose headphones, compared to eight the previous Wednesday; and 14,000 iRobot Roomba 595 Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robots, compared to one the previous Wednesday (was that you?).

A big part of the company’s Prime Day strategy was to boost the membership count of its Prime service, which for $99 a year gets you free and fast shipping, as well as unlimited access to a sizable library of movies, TV shows, and ebooks. While the company says “hundreds of thousands” of people signed up on Prime Day, it knows many will have joined with the intention of later canceling their membership once the day of deals was over. Except that many will forget, or won’t get around to it, leaving Amazon with a mass of new members paying $99 a year – members that are known to spend on average almost double that of non-Prime members over the course of a year. Kerching!

Complaints

Though the event appears to have been a lucrative one for Amazon, and seems to have helped a number of enthusiastic shoppers get their hands on a bargain or two, not everyone was impressed. Hitting Twitter with the hashtag #PrimeDayFail, many complained with great humor about an apparent lack of appealing items in the one-day sale. From the stream:

And here’s some news that’ll have you either jumping with joy or rolling your eyes in wild despair: Prime Day is set to become a regular feature of the company’s business.

Greg Greeley, VP for Amazon Prime, confirmed the fact on the company’s website: “Going into this, we weren’t sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event. After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again.”