J.C. Penney, Kohl's latest to leverage Prime Day for holiday promotions

2020.10.12 Retail dive

Dive Brief:

  • More retailers are finding Amazon Prime Day, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday this week, to be a convenient time to hold a holiday sale. J.C. Penney on Monday launched an event that runs through Wednesday, "allowing shoppers to get a jumpstart on holiday purchases."

  • In a press release Monday, Kohl's was less specific but said deals that started last week would continue through December. The department store also emphasized "a safe and convenient shopping experience both online ... and in store so customers can shop with confidence this holiday season."

  • Other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, have already announced their own promotions during the same days as Amazon's annual sale, which usually runs in July but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

When Prime Day was a midsummer event, consumers turned to it for holiday shopping. This season they're more prepared than ever to turn to the sale, according to research from the NPD Group.

Last year, just one of the two Prime Days placed third, behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in the top three shopping days of the year, according to NPD Checkout data. It's about prices: 20% picked Black Friday as the time to get the best deals possible, but 18% said Prime Day. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has yet to be effectively contained across the U.S., and retailers are hoping to get the holiday going earlier in order to space out indoor shopping and ensure that online orders are fulfilled in time. The timing of Prime Day coincides with those efforts, NPD said.

"The pandemic has changed retail, and the delayed timing of Amazon's Prime Days will be making its mark on the 2020 holiday season," Marshal Cohen, NPD chief industry advisor, retail, said in a statement. "Consumers are already entering this earlier-than-ever start to the holiday season with a different shopping mindset, and this is retail's chance to emphasize the notion that early is better when making holiday purchases — when it comes to inventory, shipping, and deals."

Fortunately for the other retailers hoping to grab onto Amazon's coattails, 63% of consumers told NPD Group that they're "very likely to compare Prime Day promotions with other retailer promotions before making a purchase." 

Perhaps paradoxically, Amazon could also capture the attention of consumers who are more careful about shopping at local and smaller retailers, which have been especially challenged during the pandemic. The NPD Group called Amazon's focus on its marketplace sellers as small businesses a "differentiator" this year in light of the "17% of consumers indicating they plan to shop more 'small'/locally owned retailers this holiday season."

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