Amazon's Prime Day ramps up membership subscriptions

Amazon held its first ever Prime Day sales event this week to celebrate its 20th birthday, which resulted in customers trying out its annual Prime membership service.

While the e-tailer failed to reveal how many new Prime members it had managed to secure in the days presiding Prime Day, Amazon said: "More new members tried Prime worldwide than any single day in Amazon history."

On Prime Day (15 July), Prime members ordered 34.4 million items, which broke Amazon's Black Frday record.

As well as tempting customers with the promise of more deals than Black Friday, Prime Day encouraged potential members to sign up to its Amazon Prime membership service at a discounted rate.

Andy Oldham, managing director at Quidco, said Prime Day was a "very transparent effort to convert more Amazon customers to a Prime membership".

"And there’s little wonder that this is a key objective for the retailer as Prime customers spend over twice as much money on the site as other users," he added.

Amazon Prime, which at full price costs £79 per year, provides customers with free next day delivery as well as access to its one-hour delivery service within London. Customers also receive unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes, unlimited cloud photo storage, and access to 800,000 Kindle books to borrow.

Amazon also revealed it sold more on Prime Day than Black Friday 2014 – the biggest Black Friday on record. The e-tailer said worldwide order growth increased by 266% on the same day last year and 18% more than Black Friday 2014. Sales of Amazon devices, such as Kindles, also witnessed record-breaking sales.

Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said: "Customers worldwide ordered an astonishing 398 items per second and saved millions on Prime Day deals."

"Going into this, we weren't sure whether Prime Day would be a one-time thing or if it would become an annual event. After yesterday’s results, we'll definitely be doing this again," he added.

Dixons Carphone ups the ante

Dixons Carphone chose to launch a 30-hour online flash sale to compete with Amazon's Prime Day, providing customers with 30% off selected products and free delivery. The retailer – which yesterday reported annual pre-tax profit growth of 21%  ̶  said it witnessed an increase in its daily sales as a result of the event.

Analyst at Kantar Retail, Simon Jonhstone, said: "Amazon remains Dixons Carphone's biggest opposition. The retailer recognised the importance of being both flexible and relevant and acted accordingly. This willingness to adapt will continue to be a winning strategy for the retailer."

Amazon sellers

Sellers on Amazon also benefitted from Prime day. Sellers using Amazon's fulfilment service  ̶ both local retailers and larger businesses  ̶   reported record-breaking sales and growth of nearly 300%.

Zamir Cajee, managing director at iQualTech, said: "Prime Day sales were exceptional for us with thousands of orders across the day – 600 of those before 8am. We turned over almost £40,000 – five times more than on our biggest day last year."

Meanwhile, Dipesh Majithia, director of Tvsandmore, added: "Our Prime Day deal sold out totally in just 20 minutes turning over around £50K in the same time period! Now we are getting really excited about Black Friday and Cyber Monday…and of course Prime Day 2016."