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Amazon needs better deals if it wants to keep Prime Day alive

Laptop on Amazon surrounded by boxes of tech gear.

While Prime Day is still Amazon’s banner event, it would seem that the whole situation has entered murky waters. With a combination of less investment from Amazon, a significant readjustment to peak pandemic demand, and a lot of competition from stores like Best Buy and Walmart, Prime Day deals aren’t as great as they used to be.

For those who aren’t familiar with the event, Prime Day started back in 2015 to ostensibly celebrate 20 years of operations for the retail giant, but was mostly used to boost the value of its Prime subscription service, which was lagging behind the rest of the company. In a lot of ways, Prime Day was fashioned after Alibaba’s Singles Day sales extravaganza, with exclusive release events and even booking celebrity names for exclusive concerts, not to mention a unique paper-themed page made specifically for Prime Day.

Most of that has now gone the way of the dodo and has ultimately led to a poorer shopping experience for the consumer, and the stats show that. For example, on average shoppers spent $3 less during Prime Day per item in 2020 compared to 2019. Also, discounts on Prime Day aren’t as steep as they are at any other point of the year, with a glance at price-tracking sites such as CamelCamelCamel showing us that, for the most part, non-electronics deals tend to hover around 30% on Prime Day, which is not a significant deviation from other times of the year.

Even worse, the focus in the last few years has heavily shifted toward Amazon’s products rather than the products of third-party brands. In fact, when Amazon announced the Prime Day 2022 dates this year, there was a heavy emphasis on how big the sales on its own devices would be, and not only that, deals on said devices would start as early as June 21, nearly a month before Prime Day itself. This ultimately takes a huge bite out of the value of Prime Day as a sales event, at least when it comes to Amazon’s products, and tends to undermine the products of other brands.

That last part has caused its problem in terms of Amazon’s deals, and the fact that retailers like Best Buy will have better Prime Day TV deals because of a combination of having a more extensive selection of TVs to begin with, as well as generally trying to undercut Amazon’s prices to capture some of the market share. That’s a big issue for Amazon — and consumers — since TVs tend to be a big-ticket item during sales events, and Amazon’s reliance on selling its own Fire TVs is likely going to cost its some sales and brand loyalty.

What’s more unfortunate is that we saw better deals through last year’s Thanksgiving weekend that lead into Black Friday, including on electronics, a category of products that Prime Day usually has better deals for.

All that being said, Amazon isn’t going to go quietly into the night, and a spokeswoman from Amazon said that third-party sellers had their best Prime Day last year, and that Amazon is working with them to make this year even better. Whether that attempt is successful is yet to be seen, but at the end of the day, Amazon needs to start wowing consumers again or worry about other retailers like Best Buy and Walmart outshining an event that should be the Amazon’s best of the year.

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