- Walmart is planning an online sale event with from Oct. 11-15, which includes the days Amazon recently announced for Prime Day (Oct 13-14).
- A Walmart spokesperson said in an email that the sale will feature "Black Friday-like savings on thousands of items," including electronics, toys, fashion, beauty products and others. The retailer will offer free two-day or next-day shipping on some eligible items with orders over $35, with store pickup available as well on some items.
- Also this week, Target announced it would hold its own online sales event on days corresponding to Amazon's Prime Day. Both Target and Walmart in the past have thrown their own online sales during Prime Day.
With three of the largest names in online retail launching mid-October sales extravaganzas, they are setting up a major shopping event and potentially a starter's gun for this year's holiday shopping blitz.
Analysts have been anticipating an extended, earlier and online-heavy holiday period, as the pandemic continues to shape consumer behavior. Consulting firm AlixPartners went so far as to call the traditional November-to-December period "meaningless" and included for the first time the month of October in its holiday sales estimates. That makes mid-October a logical fit for Prime Day, which Amazon had to delay amid explosive sales growth and a focus on essentials in the early months of the pandemic.
Walmart itself is likely responding to data on its own customers as well as Amazon's lead on Prime Day. Walmart said earlier this month that 87% of its customers planned to seek out deals earlier this year than in years past. The retailer launched its Walmart+ membership program, which includes free shipping, in time for the season while keeping free shipping on orders over $35.
Earlier shopping, and more of it online — those are both ways that consumers may be trying to avoid crowded stores full of holiday shoppers as COVID-19 continues to circulate through the country and turn seasonal and daily activities into potential health risks.
Walmart has been planning for large online growth for the holidays. Earlier in September, the retailer said it aimed to hire 20,000 seasonal associates to staff its e-commerce fulfillment centers.
In the same breath, the retailer signaled what categories it expected to sell well this year, many of which consumers have taken to during the pandemic: athleisure, loungewear, outdoor grills, bicycles, and exercise and outdoor equipment. Walmart also plans to carry more than 800 exclusive toys for the holiday season and boost its kitchen products.