Prime Day Builds Fashion Boost

Research showed apparel sales during the promotional blitz were 180 percent higher than on an average day.

The final tally on Amazon’s Prime Day won’t be ready until Wednesday, but the Christmas in July bonanza seems to have spurred a nice spike in business — at least for the web giant’s mega platform.

Viral Launch, which provides software and marketing services to Amazon sellers, said as of Tuesday afternoon, sales in apparel, shoes and jewelry trended 180 percent higher than on an average day. Beauty and personal-care products were up 164 percent. And overall sales on Amazon trended up 269 percent.

Amazon kicked off Prime Day early this year, making it a 30-hour shopping event that started Monday evening.

Touted as an “epic day of deals,” Amazon was offering 40 to 50 percent off “Prime exclusive” apparel, including a wide selection of the company’s own private-label brands, particularly Mae, Paris Sunday and Lark & Ro.

Fashion has become an area of intense focus for Amazon, which works directly with some established brands, such as Levi Strauss, and is starting to bring on some other big names, including Nike in a test starting this month.

Recent One Click Retail research suggested that Amazon’s U.S. apparel sales totaled $3.4 billion last year — a fraction of the total U.S. market of $200 billion. But Amazon’s apparel sales grew by 25 percent, where the overall market expanded by just 3 percent, showing the e-commerce platform — through its own brand and third-party sales — is gaining significant market share.

Among the other Prime Day deals, which ranged from home to tech, were discounts on handbags from Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson, Fossil, Juicy Couture and Nine West.

While the sale, which was ostensibly started to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, spices up the sleepy summer season, it’s not clear that it operates in the black (although that would be nothing new for the historically loss-generating web merchant).

“Like most retail promotions, profitability really isn’t the focus here, but rather top-line sales growth, market share gains and increasing and deepening the Prime membership base are the primary goals in our view,” said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

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