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What Memorial Day Sales Could Reveal, Thanks To Amazon Prime Day

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By: Jenn McMillen |

Posted on June 21, 2024

What Shoppers Should Expect Between Memorial Day and Amazon Prime Day

Memorial Day sales ended May 27, but some deals will likely continue into July to compete against Amazon Prime Day. Here’s what to expect this extended summer sales season.

If Amazon Prime Day is the kickoff to the back-to-school shopping season, then Memorial Day is becoming the kickoff to Amazon Prime Day season.

More than a week before official Memorial Day sales events were to kick off on May 24, Amazon launched its own holiday sale with Prime Day-like deals, including at least 40% off headphones, TVs, clothing and Ring smart doorbells.

Early sales are not unusual for Memorial Day, so Amazon was not alone. Best Buy, Lowe’s and Target were among the retailers offering deep discounts early, TechRadar reported. (On May 20 Target announced it will cut prices on 5,000 food, household and beauty items throughout the summer.)

Even TikTok Shop, the marketplace of the popular social media platform, has been sending users targeted emails promoting its “Mid-Year Big Sale,” which launched May 15 and runs through June 10.

However, due to their proximity to the annual Amazon Prime Day event in mid-July, these Memorial Day sales have become indicators of what consumers could expect in July.

It’s also becoming an indicator of what they can expect in the six or so weeks between Memorial Day and Amazon Prime Day. Just as retailers got a head start on Memorial Day sales, they also will get a competitive jump on Amazon Prime Day.

And it’s likely Amazon will be prepared through exclusive and early deals for its Prime members.

What’s Hot on Memorial Day

Nearly 36% of consumers planned to spend money on Memorial Day celebrations, according to research from Coresight. That does not mean patio furniture and grills were on markdown, however.

Traditionally, Memorial Day sales include items such as appliances (large and small) and furniture. Spring apparel and footwear also are targeted as retailers strive to make room for next season’s hot items, NBC reported. And thanks to Amazon’s early Memorial Day lineup (as well as Apple’s mid-May release of the M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air), consumers found deals on certain tablets, laptops and phones.

Amazon confirmed on April 26 it will host its 10th annual Prime Day sale in July, without giving specific dates. However, in the past two years, the “day”— typically 48 hours—was held the second Tuesday and Wednesday of July.

What Will Be Hot on Amazon Prime Day

In 2023, Amazon Prime Day generated more than $12.9 billion in sales, NBC reported. Based on research by Forbes and other news outlets, here’s a sample of what consumers and retailers can expect on Amazon Prime Day, some items of which Amazon evidently tested during its Memorial Day sale:

Amazon-brand smart devices – Amazon likes to give its own devices a price advantage on Prime Day so consumers can expect some of the lowest prices of the year on its Fire TVs, Alexa smart speakers, Ring doorbells and Kindles.

Personal tech and electronics – Big tech brands like Apple, Samsung and Beats compete with and sell on Amazon’s platform, so they’ll want in on the action, too. Shoppers can anticipate competitive discounts on these brands, as well.

Wellness and self-care – Amazon hasn’t traditionally been a big player in the beauty category, but Forbes noted an uptick in its beauty offers in 2023. On this Prime Day, Forbes predicts deals on wellness items such as dental water flossers and electric razors.

­Household helpers – During its Memorial Day sales, Amazon discounted robot vacuums, small kitchen appliances and air purifiers. The results of this sale – and others – will likely influence how it prices such items on Prime Day. For example, CNN predicts deals on Bissell carpet cleaners, robot mops and other items based on Amazon’s “Big Spring Sale” in March.

What To Expect Leading Up to Prime Day

This year marks Amazon’s 10th annual Prime Day, so its offerings could include anniversary deals, as well as Prime Day deals – all of which is a little crazy considering Prime Day itself is a manufactured event, not tied to a national holiday.

Nevertheless, Prime Day has created a sales season, forcing Walmart, Target, Best Buy and others to launch competitive events weeks before it.

This is what retailers and shoppers can watch out for:

A lot of “beta” sales. Thanks to Amazon Prime Day, “Black Friday in July” is now a thing for many retailers. In July 2023, they treated shoppers to “Walmart Plus Week,” “Kohl’s Summer Cyber Deals” and “Target Circle Week.” Some retailers simply referred to their events as summer sales, but those sales still competed with Amazon. Many of these companies tested promotions before their big sale dates and will likely do so this year.

More Amazon Prime memberships. Amazon Prime Day is, perhaps above all, an enrollment campaign. Prime membership now costs $139, and there are more than 200 million members worldwide, including an estimated 167 million to 173 million in the U.S. Amazon does not specify how many members enroll in Prime as a result of its bargain events, but in 2022, an estimated 5% of Prime Day shoppers joined the program on or soon before the July sale, NBC reported.

More self-created bonanzas. If Amazon can create a sales season, then other retailers can do so, too. Heck, Amazon has already done it with its annual “Prime Big Deal Days” in October. In 2023, the two-day bonanza represented Amazon’s second most successful sales event (behind Prime Day 2023), according to RetailDive. Big brands competed by hosting even longer sales and specials. Target, for example, sponsored a “Deal of the Day” from Oct. 1 through Dec. 24 for Target Circle members.

Sales from now to infinity. Christmas in July? That’s sooooo 2015. After Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Days ended on Oct. 11, 2023, it continued to quietly carry a “Holiday Deals” page on its website throughout the month, with substantial price cuts. Shoppers likely took note – discounts on nonessential items are so common that many people look for sales prices first. They also are growing wise to the tendency of retailers to continue discounts beyond official end dates.

Memorializing The Experience

Amazon and other retailers are creating perpetual sales seasons at a telling time – 58% of people are cutting back on nonessential spending due to high grocery prices, according to PYMNTS.com.

Still, these events, even if continuous, shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. All retailers would do well to analyze their customer data in the weeks between Memorial Day and Amazon Prime Day, not just to learn what shoppers bought but to track their feedback and purchase/delivery experiences.

Low prices might attract a lot of shoppers, but a whole lot else is required to retain them.


This article originally appeared in Forbes.

Forbes.com retail contributor Jenn McMillen is nationally renowned as the architect of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards, and is Founder and Chief Accelerant of Incendio, a firm that builds and fixes marketing, consumer engagement, loyalty and CRM programs. Incendio provides a nimble, flexible and technology-agnostic approach without the big-agency cost structure and is a trusted partner of some of the biggest brands in the U.S.