Prime Day 2020 Expected to Generate Black Friday-Like Spend

Estimate is on par with the day after Thanksgiving in 2018

The Prime Day forecast is about $1 billion shy of the biggest Black Friday on record. Amazon
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In its Prime Day forecast, eMarketer projects Amazon will sell $9.9 billion in goods worldwide—including nearly $6.2 billion in the U.S., which is just about as much as consumers spent on Black Friday 2018.

While we’ve seen estimates emerge after the event in previous years, this is among the first—if not the first—estimates leading up to the now 48-hour sale, which gives a better sense of how big it actually is.

That U.S. estimate, for example, would put Prime Day 2020 about $1 billion behind Black Friday 2019 when consumers spent $7.4 billion online, crowning it the biggest Black Friday ever. (Cyber Monday 2019 brought in $9.4 billion soon thereafter and it remains the date to beat in U.S. ecommerce.)

This year, however, as a result of pandemic-era fulfillment challenges, Amazon pushed back its historically summer sale to October, so it is now butting up against the holiday season. The timing, combined with the fact that Amazon has conditioned consumers to spend during the two-day selling spree, means Prime Day 2020 and the additional sales in its orbit will likely steal some thunder from traditional holiday sales dates. Analysts still expect a bump on marquee dates—just less significant this year.

Amazon does not share details about spend on Prime Day or any other dates.

In 2019, the ecommerce platform called Prime Day “the largest shopping event in Amazon history” and noted customers bought more than 175 million items, including 100,000 lunchboxes and laptops, 200,000 TVs, 400,000 pet products, 650,000 household cleaning supplies and 1 million toys.

It was Digital Commerce 360 that pegged the post-sale total at $7.2 billion, marking a fairly significant leap from the $1 billion in sales Bloomberg reported two years before, although the event was just 30 hours then.

The delay this year was arguably a gamble since Amazon’s spin on the Christmas in July sale has resonated in part because it lands in an otherwise slow retail period between the previous and forthcoming holiday seasons when consumers have a readymade excuse to shop for themselves, much as they do abroad on Singles Day.

According to eMarketer, however, consumers will spend heavily on ecommerce despite the uncertain economy this year as they actively seek deals heading into the holiday season. The market research firm expects to see high demand for e-learning, in-home entertainment, cooking and sanitation products this year and said Amazon’s ultimate success on Prime Day 2020 will hinge in part on flagship products like its Alexa-enabled devices.

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@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.