In a much-anticipated move, Amazon on Monday announced a two-day holiday sale exclusive to Prime members Oct. 11-12 in 15 countries, calling it a “chance to kick off the holiday shopping season early.”
Some member deals are starting now and Amazon released holiday gift guides, including a curated “top 100” list of major brands like KitchenAid and Peloton and its toy list, the company said by email.
Rival Target beat Amazon to the holiday punch, however, last week announcing its own seasonal sale Oct. 6-8, with its holiday price-match guarantee commencing Oct. 6.
In October 2020, Amazon held its Prime Day sales event, after the pandemic disrupted its plans to schedule it for midsummer as it usually does. That year Prime Day was the third most popular holiday shopping event, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to the NPD Group.
Amazon isn’t calling this year’s October sale “Prime Day,” even though it has all the hallmarks of that annual event, above all that customers must be Prime members to get special deals. Buzz about a possible second Prime Day started in the spring, before Amazon had even held its annual members-only sale, and hasn’t quieted since.
After Amazon’s weak start to the year as many consumers headed back to stores after vaccines helped ease the worries and restrictions induced by the pandemic, Insider Intelligence principal analyst Andrew Lipsman in April had speculated that the e-commerce giant would be seeking a way to recharge growth in its retail business.
“Don’t be surprised if Amazon hosts a second Prime Day this year in October to generate incremental revenues,” Lipsman had said.
Whatever it’s called, it’s the first time that Amazon has held two red-letter events of this magnitude. With both retailers and their customers aware of supply chain problems, expect more retailers to join the early holiday rush, according to researchers at deals site BlackFriday.com. And inflation is pushing consumers to seek out good deals, and do so early, they said.
A large majority of consumers say they’re cutting back on spending due to inflation, with 43% saying they’ll spend less at the holidays this year, according to NPD Group research. More than half said they’ll probably start early to be sure to get what they want, according to that report.
Amazon, Target and other retailers with early sales will capture some attention, but in some ways the holidays this year will be more traditional as more consumers shop in stores, according to NPD chief retail industry adviser Marshal Cohen.
“At the same time, more normalcy is resurfacing, and the consumer excitement to get into stores for the deal-hunting they have missed over the past two years is capable of sparking increased activity for retailers who create a sense of urgency around the more traditional peak days for in-store traffic,” Cohen said in a statement.