Amazon confirmed rumors that the Prime Day sales event will take place earlier than usual this year, although the Internet retail giant stopped just short of announcing a specific date. During the first few years of Prime Day, Amazon scheduled the event in July, until last year when it was delayed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said the two-day shopping event will be held in its second quarter, which would mean June.
"There's a number of factors," Olsavsky said Thursday about the move, reports CNBC. He noted that the 2020 Summer Olympics will now be set in July and that many families take vacations that month. "It might be better — for customers, sellers, and vendors to experiment with a different time period," he explained. "We experimented the other way ... in 2020, by moving it into October. But we believe that it might be better timing later in Q2. So that's what we're testing this year."
One possible reason for the new date that Olsavksy didn't mention was the huge revenue jump Amazon experienced in the second quarter of 2020. Consumers were shopping online more often than they usually do at that time because the coronavirus pandemic was just starting and many businesses were locked down. Amazon saw revenue skyrocket 40% to $88.91 billion that quarter. By moving Prime Day up to June, Amazon could cut the expected gap between the 2020 and 2021 revenue in the second quarter.
"They've got a big number to beat," Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, explained to CNBC. "All retailers are going to suffer from this. It's not manipulation, but it's definitely putting the trade where it needs to go to make the numbers look very positive."
Just as Amazon did for the 2020 Prime Day event, the company said it will focus on the small businesses that use the site to sell products. "Prime Day is also a great opportunity for our selling partners to reach more customers and will make supporting small businesses a big focus again this year," Olsavsky said Thursday, reports Fox Business. Amazon said third-party sellers earned a combined $3.5 billion during 2020 Prime Day, a 60% jump over the 2019 event.
The Amazon Prime Day event launched in 2015 and the company picked July since sales were usually slower during the summer season. Deals are only available for Amazon Prime subscribers, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. The company offers a free 30-day trial for new subscribers.