Amazon just wrapped up Prime Day 2022 — a two-day event filled with flash sales and deep discounts exclusively for Prime members. Last year, Amazon brought in an estimated $11.2 billion in sales during the event. And it’s no surprise that competing retailers and brands got in on the action and ran their own summer promotions in parallel. This year, our analysis of retailer activity on Prime Day reviewed 115 brand and retailer websites, spanning numerous categories. Here are this year’s key findings.

Quantity Over Quality Of Sales

  • Overall, offers were less than impressive. Of the retailers and brands we reviewed, 70% ran some form of a promotion, but only 11% held a sitewide sale. Instead, many offered sales on select products (e.g., summer items) or ran additional promotions on their already-discounted sales sections. Additionally, a mere 7% offered free shipping with no minimum order as part of a promotion. (Note: This number excludes those that offer free shipping year round.) There were, however, retailers that offered free expedited delivery with a smaller minimum order size than usual, likely to compete with Amazon’s speedy shipping capabilities.
  • Major retailers scaled back their promotions. Walmart announced it would not have its usual sales event this Prime Day — but still offered lots of Rollback offers. Other retailers seemed to run non-event-related promotions, possibly as a result of excess inventory and decreased discretionary spending. Others just happened to have sales events that were not targeted at Prime Day. For example, Nordstrom is launching its long-standing annual Anniversary Sale, and Wayfair is celebrating its 20-year anniversary with a Save-A-Thon event.

Brand Manufacturers And Close Competitors Ramped Up Offers

  • Brand manufacturers got on the bandwagon. Of the 54 brands that we reviewed this year, 29 had some form of promotion during Prime Day, including Dyson’s “Dyson Week” sale, Estee Lauder’s “Prime Time Exclusive” gift-with-purchase offer, and iRobot’s “two-day deals.”
  • Retailers and brands in Amazon’s most popular categories were active. Software, home & kitchen, and beauty & personal care are among the most popular categories on Amazon, per Jungle Scout. Retailers and brands in these categories were particularly active: 12 of the 16 retailers and brands in “beauty, health, & wellness” had sales, as did 17 of the 29 we grouped in “home and household goods.” And Barnes & Noble offered a slew of promotions on both its Nook device and physical book inventory.

Themes Emerged Among Marketing Strategies And Tactics

  • Exclusive, member-only deals were more common. Some retailers and brands we reviewed drew attention to their loyalty programs via exclusive sales that required the customer to be — or sign up to become — a loyalty member. Ace Hardware, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gap, LEGO, and PetSmart all had bonus point promotions for their loyalty members (e.g., 10x points week, double points on purchases). Others, including Bobbi Brown, Columbia, and J.Crew offered free shipping on all orders, but only for their loyalty members.
  • Brands chose a variety of sales event names. Many had sales and offers related to summer like Bose’s Mid-Summer Sale, but the end-of-year holiday theme emerged, too — for example, Bloomingdale’s “Cyber Sale,” Best Buy’s “Black Friday in July,” and Big Lot’s “Christmas Came Early.” Others got creative with their use of words. At Home went with “Prime Deals, Every Day,” The Vitamin Shoppe had a BOGO deal on the “Prime Hydration” brand beverages, and Bobbi Brown touted its “Primed for 30% off” sale on — you guessed it — makeup primers.

Now that one of the summer’s biggest sales events has concluded, stay tuned for end-of-year holiday season prep advice for retailers and brands. And schedule inquiries with us and other Forrester analysts to learn more about holiday strategies and tactics as we head into the latter half of 2022.

In the meantime, check out some of our related research: