BUSINESS

Amazon racks up sales from 'Prime Day' deals despite complaints

Deals on shoehorns, Tupperware and "Lord of the Rings" Blu-ray sets may not have been what some shoppers expected from Amazon.com’s “Prime Day” sale Wednesday.

But analysts said big sales and widespread publicity for the event billed as Black Friday in July appeared to be a win for the online retail giant.

The sale, which celebrated Amazon’s 20th anniversary, was available only to Prime members, who pay a $99 annual fee for free two-day shipping and access to entertainment including TV shows.

After all of the hype before the sale, dozens of customers took to Twitter to vent their frustration with the deals.

Many likened the Prime Day discounts to a “garage sale” or said it was “lame.” Several said the only useful thing they bought was Tupperware.

But preliminary data tell a different story. Sucharita Mulpuru, retail analyst for Forrester Research, said sales appeared to be two or three times that of an average July day.

“I think from Amazon’s perspective, it was fairly successful,” she said.

The Seattle company said orders surpassed those from Black Friday last November. In 15 minutes, Prime members scooped up 35,000 “Lord of the Rings” Blu-ray sets, 28,000 Rubbermaid sets and tens of thousands of Fire TV sticks. The 1,200 TVs priced at $999 sold out in less than 10 minutes.

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Riding Amazon’s coattails, Wal-Mart held a rival sale Wednesday that featured more than 2,000 online-only discounts.

With Prime Day, Amazon was betting heavily that it could recruit new customers to its Prime program, analysts said. The company is pushing a 30-day free trial of the service, which could turn into paying members.

The company declined to say how many new Prime members it signed up Wednesday.

Mulpuru said she thinks Amazon will hold another Prime Day sale, but will be more selective about the marketing.

“Now they know who their shoppers are,” she said.

 

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

3:57 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout.

11:54 a.m.: This article has been updated with comment from Amazon.

7:33 a.m.: This article has been updated with social media reaction and analyst reaction.

This article was first published at 5 a.m.

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