Amazon is bringing back its post-holiday "digital day" sale — an online event offering as much as 80% off of digital apps, games, movies, e-books and other items, according to the company’s website.
The company said there will be 40% more deals than last year (the first year of the event) starting as early as Dec. 26, although the biggest savings will culminate on Dec. 29.
The move is a play for the e-commerce giant to rake in last-minute December sales, notably from those that were given gift cards or unwanted presents during the holidays.
"Digital day" is Amazon’s second go at creating a sales holiday out of thin air. Its first — Prime Day — beefed up sales in July (a generally slow month) by 60% compared to the same 30 hours last year. And sales growth by small businesses and entrepreneurs was even higher, Amazon reported.
In some ways, Prime Day is patterned after Alibaba’s Nov. 11 Singles Day event (which this year funneled $25.3 billion in sales to the Chinese e-commerce giant and $19 billion to rival JD.com). Meanwhile, Singles Day clearly took cues from Black Friday, according to Keith Anderson, vice president of strategy and insight at e-commerce analytics firm Profitero. "Throughout retail history, there have been essentially fabricated holidays essential to driving traffic and driving sales," Anderson told Retail Dive last year.
Digital day is certainly a sign of the times in merchandising; Apple is another company gaining sales because so many once shelvable items are now available as digital products. But Amazon has likely sold a lot of its Echo and Kindle devices this quarter, and the more apps and games loaded on those devices, the more enmeshed users are into Amazon’s nexus.
Special holidays, digital sales, physical stores, Prime membership perks — Amazon’s efforts all go to stoke the virtual cyclone that locks in customers. "Everyone was shocked and amazed at Amazon’s [first] bookstore, but the bookstore is a Trojan horse to get devices into consumers’ hands," retail futurist Doug Stephens, author of "Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-digital World," told Retail Dive last year. "Everything Amazon does is aimed at that — getting their consumer into their ecosystem."