Best Prime Day Ever: Amazon Members Bought Over 100 Million Items

In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Mac Greer and Motley Fool senior analyst Matt Argersinger review the performance of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) in the wake of its big annual sales event — and shareholders have to be smiling at the superlatives.

Biggest sales event ever. More new Prime members joining than on any other previous day. And the popular purchases were from a wide range of categories. The duo discuss the wider implications for the company, as well as the broader e-commerce space.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on July 18, 2018.

Mac Greer: Amazon Prime Day officially a wrap. Amazon said it was the biggest shopping event in the company's history. The event lasted 36 hours. Amazon said that members bought more than 100 billion products. Matt, for investors, what does it all mean.

Matt Argersinger: Well, if you're an Amazon shareholder, it's all good. It's been all good for a while, including this year. They didn't provide a lot of specifics in the release. When I hear "biggest day ever," obviously, that means it exceeded last year's Prime Day, and it probably exceeded Cyber Monday last fall. So, obviously, a big day.

One of the things they talked about was adding more signups for Prime on July 16th, which is the main day, than any previous day in American history. Not surprised by that because they did that last year, as well. Still, the fact that they're adding potentially millions and millions of new Prime users on that particular day is very impressive.

A couple of other nuggets. This was the first Prime Day when they owned Whole Foods. If you went and shopped at Whole Foods, if you spent $10 at Whole Foods, you got a gift certificate to spend $10 on Amazon, which I think is a pretty good way to get people to shop at Whole Foods. I didn't even know about that. I totally would have done that.

Customers purchased more than 5 million items in each of the following categories: toys, beauty products, computer accessories, apparel, and kitchen products. I just mentioned those categories because it's such a broad range, if you think about it. There's not one particular area that everyone is going after. It's amazing, the broad inventory that Amazon has, and that people buy. It really touches every aspect of everyone's life.

Then, one more interesting nugget from the release, Amazon called this out, was that members really stocked up on back to school and back to college things like pens, pencils, things you need for your dorm. I should have known this, but I never really thought of Amazon Prime Day as a back to school event for parents or students, but it is. The timing of it, right?

Greer: It seems so early, it seems like the middle of summer here.

Argersinger: It does, but if you can take advantage of it, school is a month or maybe five weeks away, it's not a bad thing to do.

Greer: It was also interesting, I noticed in reading up on it, that Target (NYSE: TGT) had its own sale on Tuesday. I didn't really find a lot about the numbers, but Target said it was the highest single day of traffic and sales of online purchases this year. It reminds me of bit of when you go to a sporting event or a concert, there's someone outside the arena selling bottled water as you walk up. That, to me …

Argersinger: That's Target.

Greer: That's kind of Target, right?

Argersinger: It is, in a way. I'm not surprised. In fact, you have to have to applaud Target.

Greer: And I love Target.

Argersinger: If they know that there are millions of shoppers out there going online looking for deals, if you're Target or Walmart or Wayfair or any other popular online destination for e-commerce, why not take advantage of it? I expect to see a lot more of that, for sure. It's kind of like what happened in China. Do, you remember this thing called Singles' Day, which happens every year? I feel like, I might not have this totally correct —

Greer: I would have loved that, because I was single until I was 40. It's aimed at people who are single.

Argersinger: Exactly. One of our dozens of listeners can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Alibaba was the company that started Singles' Day whenever it was, ten years ago. Now, every major e-commerce company in China, it's this huge event that, they all report, they all talk about it, they all market into it. It's exactly what's happening with Prime Day here in the U.S.

Greer: You said you did not buy anything on Prime Day. In general, you're a prudent shopper? You don't strike me as a guy who's making a lot of unnecessary purchases.

Argersinger: No. I'm not the guy who's always looking for things. If I need to buy something, I'll go and buy it, and maybe I'll look for a deal. But I'm not a guy who says, "That's the day. I know there are going to be deals, I'm going to see what's out there." Same with holiday shopping. If I think of something, I'll go look for it. I don't let the retailer pull me in.

Greer: That's good. I love looking at all the stuff, but it reminds me of how much stuff I don't need. It's unbelievable. You're like, I don't need that, I don't need that. I've gotten a little more measured in my older years.

Argersinger: Smart.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Mac Greer owns shares of Amazon. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and W. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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