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The history of Prime Day celebrating Amazon’s birthday

By Chris Dawson July 15, 2019 - 10:00 am

On the 5th of July July 1994, Jeff Bezos incorporated a company in Washington State with the name Cadabra (Abracadabra?). He later changed the name to Amazon a few months later, after a lawyer misheard its original name as “cadaver”. It was a year later in July 1995 that the company actually launched as an online book store and the first book sold on Amazon.com was Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought and 25 years after the company was founded we look back at the history of Prime Day.

Fast forward 20 years and Amazon has grown into a behemoth of online retail, getting into offline retail and spawned a vast array of subsidiary businesses such as the Amazon marketplace, fulfilment, logistics, cloud computing, smart devices, tablets and eBooks. In 1995, to celebrate 20 years of trading, Amazon introduced Prime Day, their global shopping event with the goal offering a volume of deals greater than Black Friday, all exclusively for Prime members.

The History of Prime Day

Prime Day 2015

The first Prime Day was the 15th of July 2015 and lasting 24 hours. It went live in 9 countries – the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria. Customers bought more items than on Black Friday 2014, Amazon’s biggest Black Friday ever at the time. They ordered 34.4 million items across Prime-eligible countries, with 398 items ordered per second. Amazon sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) enjoyed the biggest day ever with record-breaking unit sales growing nearly 300% worldwide.

Prime Day 2016

The second Prime Day surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide, and more than 50% in the US. Customers in Belgium joined the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany and Austria, France, and Canada shopping on Prime Day 2016.

Small businesses and sellers on Amazon offering deals to Prime members saw orders nearly triple, year-over-year, on Prime Day. More than two million toys and more than one million pairs of shoes were purchased by customers and it was the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally and a record Prime Day for each Amazon device category including Fire TV, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, and Alexa-enabled devices.

Prime Day 2017

Prime Day 2017 started on the 11th of July 2017 and for the first time lasted longer than a day – it ran for 30 hours. Mexico and China were added to the list of countries where Prime day was live.

Tens of millions of customers used the Amazon App on Prime Day, with customer orders on the app more than doubled compared to 2016. More than 3.5 million toys were purchased by customers worldwide and Prime members’ most popular purchase was the Echo Dot, which was the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon globally.

Prime Day 2018

Prime Day 2018 was the biggest global shopping day (and a half) in Amazon history, lasting 36 hours from start to finish and saw small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon far exceed $1.5 billion in sales.

Worldwide purchased more than 100 million products during Prime Day 2018 with sustomers purchasing more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty products, PCs and computer accessories, Apparel and Kitchen products.

For the first time, US Prime members were treated to a week of Prime Day savings at Whole Foods Market. Members saved millions of dollars at Whole Foods Market with Prime Day deals, of which the best-selling deal was organic strawberries.

Prime Day 2019

Prime Day started at midnight on the Monday the 15th of July and for the first time runs for 48 hours. There are now 18 participating countries including US, UK, Spain, Singapore, the Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia, and for their first Prime Day the United Arab Emirates.

Prime Day 2019 will feature more than one million deals globally, including hundreds of thousands of Prime Day deals from small and medium-sized businesses around the globe and Amazon are aiming to make this the biggest event in the history of Prime Day.

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