Prime Day Sales Topple Amazon Records, Despite Worker Strike

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: Shutterstock

Amazon tooted its own horn today by announcing that Prime Day 2019 put up greater sales numbers than what it saw during last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, calling the two-day period the "largest shopping event in Amazon history."

That's become something of a tradition at this point, with the company regularly saying that Prime Day is the busiest shopping event of the year, despite being around for significantly less time than other celebrations of rampant consumerism.

Prime Day 2019 set new records across pretty much every metric Amazon cared to share. The company said it saw more Prime sign-ups on July 15 (although Amazon offers free 30-day trials, so those sign-ups may prove temporary) than ever before, shoppers from 18 countries participated, it sold more first-party hardware than ever before, Prime members saved over $1 billion on 175 million items and that millions of items shipped in one day or less. No biggie.

Some interesting tech sales number include over 100,000 laptops, 200,000 TVs and 1 million headphones purchased in the U.S. In the UK, the Sony PlayStation Classic was among the most popular products.

"Members purchased millions of Alexa-enabled devices, received tens of millions of dollars in savings by shopping from Whole Foods Market and bought more than $2 billion of products from independent small and medium-sized businesses. Huge thank you to Amazonians everywhere who made this day possible for customers," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. 

That last sentence might ring a bit hollow. Amazon workers in warehouses around the globe went on strike during Prime Day 2019 to protest their working conditions, which have been documented in numerous reports over the last few years. If there was any doubt that Amazon could still pull off a successful Prime Day, it should be now be dispelled.

Nor does it seem like a coincidence that Bezos highlighted the $2 billion people spent on "independent small and medium-sized businesses" during Prime Day 2019. The statement came as the European Union announced today that it's opening a formal investigation into the company over fears that it's stifling competition by giving itself advantages over independent companies that sell products via its platform.

None of that stopped Amazon from selling an unfathomable number of products on Prime Day 2019. The sales event has become a bona fide cultural phenomenon; Amazon even throws concerts streamed exclusively to Prime members during the promotion. At this point it's hard to imagine Prime Day getting smaller, let alone losing to the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as it continues each year.

2 comments
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  • bit_user
    It's kind of amazing (no pun intended) that a single company basically created its own holiday. At least there's no pretense around it, unlike the "greeting card holidays".
  • cryoburner
    Quote:
    ...put up greater sales numbers than what it saw during last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined...

    This isn't really all that meaningful. In recent years, retailers have been pushing customers to get their holiday purchases in prior to Black Friday, and continue sales afterward, to avoid having to compete with all the other stores offering deep discounts at the same time. As a result, sales are spread out over multiple weeks, and there are fewer purchases on those particular days. "Prime Day" is just an Amazon sale, so they're not competing as much with other stores at the same time, nor are they making it a sale event that spans weeks, so purchases don't get spread out.

    Quote:
    It's kind of amazing (no pun intended) that a single company basically created its own holiday. At least there's no pretense around it, unlike the "greeting card holidays".

    "Christmas in July" sales have been a thing for many years. I would hardly say that one company running a sale counts as a "holiday". It's just a one-day sale by one of the largest Internet retailers.

    Quote:
    Amazon workers in warehouses around the globe went on strike during Prime Day 2019 to protest their working conditions, which have been documented in numerous reports over the last few years.

    Don't worry, I'm sure there are some robots that will be proud to have their jobs. : D