The 11th of July, 2017 — also known as Prime Day — was the biggest-ever sale day in Amazon history.

How big? Amazon won’t say, exactly. The Seattle-based retailer doesn’t reveal revenue or gross merchandise volume for the 30-hour event.

It did reveal that this year Prime Day “grew by more than 60 per cent over last year” and its sales surpassed last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

By way of comparison, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day processed $US17.8 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2016. The key difference is that Alibaba is a marketplace, and its sales are generated by third-party sellers, while Amazon sells its own products as well as merchandise from third-party sellers.

As Shira Ovide at Bloomberg points out, if Amazon’s invented holiday had a material impact on the company’s bottom line, it would be required to disclose the day’s revenue. “If Prime Day were an important financial event for Amazon — and not merely relevant for vanity metrics — then the company would have to tell investors,” she writes.

Bloomberg reports  that analysts Cowen & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co estimate the day generated about $US1 billion in revenue for Amazon — which is triple its daily average.

Sales aren’t the only benefit Amazon gains from Prime Day, which gathers a huge amount of media coverage. Now in its third year, the event — exclusively for Prime members — is a way to convert occasional shoppers to Prime subscribers (who spend a lot more than the average Amazon shopper). Amazon said the number of Lrime subscribers participating in the event grew 50 per cent this year and “tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017.”

Stone Fox Capital highlighted the costs that accompany an event like Prime Day, when the company relies on deep discounting to attract consumers. Amazon’s Prime Day statement said that “Members saved hundreds of millions dollars on product discounts globally, compared to the already low prices offered to non-Prime customers.”

The event also allows Amazon to sell more of its own Alexa-powered voice assistants, which act as personal shoppers — building a closer relationship with customers. Amazon’s Echo Dot speaker was the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon globally, the company said. Prime members purchased seven times more Amazon Echo devices globally than on Prime Day 2016.

Amazon doesn’t reveal how many Prime members it has, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates there were 85 million members in the United States at the end of June 2017 — up from 63 million a year earlier and around 44 million in June 2015. As the chart below from Statista illustrates, Prime members spend significantly more than non-members.

Infographic: Amazon Reaches 85 Million Prime Members in the U.S. | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

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