Trends We Saw From Amazon Prime Day 2021

Rudy Thompson

June 29, 2021

Prime Day 2021 was back to its regular summer schedule this year, but in spite of a slight return to normal, the event was anything but–at least if recent history has anything to say about it.

While Prime Day continues to grow year over year and remains a large and highly anticipated event for Amazon, the market has seen its share of tumult and uncertainty over the past year. That tumult and uncertainty was reflected in this year’s June 21st and 22nd event.

How successful was Prime Day 2021? What were the biggest wins and notable losses? Let’s take a look at the trends.

Prime Day’s growth stalled in 2021

While Prime Day typically pulls big numbers—it’s seen a consistent growth rate of 50% or more year over year—this year’s event was just okay. In fact, Prime Day 2021’s growth actually decelerated substantially.

Prime Day 2021 grew a mere 5-10% over last year’s event, with Amazon reportedly hitting $11.9 billion in sales. That number is a relatively small step up from the $10.39 billion Amazon made on Prime Day 2020, which was pushed to October 13th and 14th due to challenges associated with Covid-19.

Last year’s sales numbers give a good idea of just how muted this year’s growth was: Prime Day 2020 saw a more than 45% sales gain from $7.16 billion in 2019. That equates to about a 35% drop in 2021.

Overall, reports indicate a very moderate year for the event, though Amazon reports that Prime members purchased over 250 million items during this year’s event and some categories saw noticeable lift.

Manufacturing remained an issue

One of the biggest challenges Amazon faced as a company last year was meeting consumer demand and supplying enough inventory throughout the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Global manufacturers have continued to struggle to meet demand in 2021, and not only has that impacted the market as a whole, but it’s a primary reason why Prime Day was less successful than in previous years.

Many brands have struggled to retain enough inventory to put in the hands of customers due to global manufacturing constraints. Currently, it’s very difficult to get inventory out of international ports, which has also contributed to fewer sales. And while some brands got lucky during Prime Day, lack of inventory led to lackluster sales offerings overall.

Timing impacted sales

In spite of last year being a wild and, yes, unprecedented year for manufacturing and ecommerce, Prime Day 2020 was uniquely positioned to capture sales because of its proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In a twist of events, these sales holidays saw lighter traffic than expected because brands pushed their promotion periods up to compete for holiday shoppers during Prime Week in October. Returning the sales period to the summertime naturally meant distancing it from that holiday traffic, which may have also contributed to lower sales growth.

Best-selling categories

Even though Prime Day 2021 was mild overall, there were isolated categories that did really well. Baby products and home products had a successful Prime Day, largely because brands had plenty of inventory, as did nutrition, tools, Amazon devices, apparel and housewares, and electronics.

Categories that struggled

In spite of having a decent Prime Day, the tech category in particular had challenges that contributed to lower sales across the entire event.

Tech products have been some of the hardest to get ahold of in 2021 due to manufacturing delays. As a result, many third-party sellers used this year’s Prime Day to discount and clear out older generation product they had available in their warehouses. Older tech products are of little interest to Prime Day shoppers, who have come to expect screaming deals on the latest and greatest during the event. Lacking that opportunity, the event was less successful than it may have been otherwise.

Amazon is prioritizing marketplace sellers

In spite of having a lower than normal growth, Prime Day 2021 marks the second Prime Day event in a row when marketplace sales grew faster than sales of Amazon’s own products. The company has been pushing more small and medium-sized businesses to the front of its Prime Day event, and the proof of its success is in the numbers.

Marketplace sales grew 12% in 2021, while sales of Amazon’s products, including its private label goods, grew only 5.3%. Marketplace Prime Day sales had been on the decline before 2020, as Amazon has historically heavily promoted its own products during the event, but the share of marketplace sales has been growing.

The future of Amazon Prime

The past two Prime Day events have not quite been par for the course for Amazon, and there is still uncertainty about what global manufacturing will look like in 2022, if it will have improved significantly by then, for example, or if it will remain just as constrained as it has been in 2020 and 2021.

The lead up to the holidays will be a good indicator of what next year’s Prime Day may look like, and while this year’s event wasn’t overwhelmingly successful, there is hope that Prime Day will return to more normalcy next year and that there may be more competition on the horizon.

Other brands are looking to compete with Amazon

We’ve known this for awhile, but Prime Day isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The event has become a massive promotion for Amazon and it’s garnered enough attention to become an established sales holiday akin to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. No longer can brands ignore Prime Day, and no longer are they.

Ecommerce brands like Walmart and Target have already adapted to capture the attention of shoppers during Prime Day, running their own promotions and adding excitement to their online shopping experience to stay competitive. Wise third party sellers are also taking advantage of Prime Day traffic to either drive conversion on their listings or run retargeted ad campaigns to capture sales in the coming months leading up to the holidays. What we may see in the years to come are big brands offering “Prime Day” like promotions at a scale to really give Amazon a run for their money.

The reality is the entire ecommerce ecosystem is a hot place to be during Prime Week, and just like most brands offer sales and excitement during Black Friday to attract customers, most brands are having to do the same during Prime Day to stay competitive and keep up. As the event continues to grow (and hopefully return to normal), the opportunities for brands to expand in this space will grow as well.

Looking to get your brand on Amazon and not sure where to start? Pattern is your answer. We’ll help you create stellar marketplace listings and effective ad campaigns, and we’ll also prepare you with everything you need for the next Prime Day so you’re ready to go (and grow) on Amazon. To learn more, contact us today!

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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS
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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS

The purpose of advertising on Amazon is simple: increase traffic and conversions. But the approach to get those conversions is not always so simple. Your Amazon advertising strategy is based on current ad data and performance results such as your return on ad spend (RoAS). 

At a minimum, your RoAS number tells you how well you’re maximizing your ad spend. The problem is the RoAS you’re getting from Amazon or an advertising agency isn’t always accurate. 

As a top 3P seller on Amazon, Pattern helps brands improve their Amazon advertising strategy and results by providing them with one simple metric: true RoAS.

Understanding True RoAS

To understand why true RoAS is helpful to brands, you need to understand how Amazon and other agencies calculate and present your RoAS.

The key to growing your brand and maximizing your ad spend is to drive incremental traffic, rather than cannibalizing what has already taken place. For example, if you are selling probiotics, and paying for sponsored ads to win the keyword “probiotics for women”, but also organically ranked in the top results with the same keyword, that’s cannibalization. The RoAS score you would receive from Amazon includes that level of cannibalism, which inflates the number, causing you to pay more on ad spend. The best ads drive incremental growth instead of cannibalizing organic sales. 

At Pattern, we’ve created the acceleration software to make sure brands are getting their “true RoAS”. Pattern’s patented tool applies artificial intelligence to advertising to maximize incremental growth or true return on investment. 

Our software helps brands optimize their efforts by providing live and updated information on where your brand is not organically ranking, and what you should be paying for. If your ranking improves in one area, the ad spend will automatically decrease for those words or phrases until the software detects a drop in ranking, signaling that your ad spend should go up again. This dynamic monitoring of ad spend will help you maximize incremental growth and improve your RoAS.

Improve Your Amazon Ad Strategy with Pattern

Knowing your true RoAS is key to improving your Amazon performance. Advertising agencies and marketplace account managers often give you an inaccurate RoAS ratio or value, which only incentivizes you to spend more on advertising, ultimately increasing revenue for the agencies and/or marketplaces.

At Pattern, a 3P partner on Amazon and other marketplaces, we view our brands just as that: a partnership. When you win, we win. You succeed on Amazon by maximizing your ad spend and we have the data and resources to help you do just that. Accurate, transparent data and reporting will help improve your advertising strategy to drive more traffic to and conversions on your products. 

Ready to finally get your true RoAS? Contact us.   

Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.