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Amazon reportedly schedules Prime Day for June

Amazon plans to hold its flagship sales event on June 21 and 22 this year, Bloomberg reports. Prime Day, which debuted in 2015, has traditionally been held in mid-July, but it was moved to October in 2020 because of pandemic-related complications. The event has proved to be a huge success for Amazon—the etailer was forecast to bring in $6.17 billion in sales on Prime Day 2020, per eMarketer estimates from Insider Intelligence—making this a potentially high-stakes move.

Before the pandemic changed its plans last year, the etailer wanted to move Prime Day earlier to maximize the event’s performance. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the company’s most recent earnings call that it intended to hold the event earlier in 2020 to account for the Olympics and the fact that July is a popular vacation time. The Olympics are now set to begin in July 2021, and travel may bounce back thanks to improving pandemic conditions in the US, so holding Prime Day 2021 in June may help Amazon attract more sales like it wanted in 2020.

Moving Prime Day may mean Amazon believes it will be a success whenever it occurs, potentially making it harder for competing etailers to keep up.

  • Prime Day has been tied to back-to-school and holiday shopping in the past, but if it succeeds in June, Amazon could have greater flexibility in the future. Amazon appears to be betting that Prime Day doesn’t need to use an existing shopping season to rack up sales. If the etailer is correct, that means Prime Day itself attracts consumers and sales. That would give Amazon the flexibility to move Prime Day around each year to account for varying factors—potentially opening the door for it to run multiple Prime Day events each year, like summer and holiday editions, for example.
  • If Amazon chooses to move Prime Day around each year, other etailers may have trouble planning their own competing events. Companies like Target and Walmart have run sales events during Prime Day in the past in the hopes of capitalizing on increased interest in ecommerce and stealing sales away from Amazon. But if Amazon keeps changing Prime Day’s dates, they’ll have to prepare each year without knowing when they’ll need to act.