Amazon officially delays Prime Day, but hasn't set a new date

Key Points
  • Amazon confirmed it will hold Prime Day "later than usual" this year, but it stopped short of setting a date for the event.
  • It was widely expected that Amazon would postpone Prime Day as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Earlier this month, Amazon told third-party sellers to use the week of Oct. 5 as a "placeholder date" for the event.

In this article

An employee looks for items in one of the corridors at an Amazon warehouse.
Carlos Jasso | Reuters

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed back Amazon's biggest shopping event of the year. 

Amazon is postponing Prime Day in the U.S., the company announced Tuesday. Amazon didn't announce a date for the two-day summer sales event, which is typically held in mid-July, saying it will share "more details soon."

Earlier this month, Amazon told third-party sellers to use the week of Oct. 5 as a "placeholder date" for Prime Day promotions and coupons. The company declined to comment further regarding that date. 

"Over the last five years, Prime Day has become a special celebration and time for Prime members to shop incredible deals for themselves and for friends and family — and it's something we look forward to every year," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "This year we'll be holding Prime Day later than usual, while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers and selling partners." 

While Prime Day in the U.S. is being put on hold, Amazon said Prime Day will take place in India next month. The event will kick off at midnight on Aug. 6 and continue until Aug. 7, the company said.  

The delay was widely expected, and sellers and brands have been preparing for it for months.

Speculation began to build in April, as Amazon saw unprecedented demand from stuck-at-home shoppers during the coronavirus crisis. The flood of orders quickly caused supply-chain shortages and delivery delays. Since then, operations at Amazon's warehouses have slowly returned to normal, but the company now faces new coronavirus outbreaks across the country, which could threaten to upend its logistics operations again. 

The pandemic is still likely to dampen consumer enthusiasm for Prime Day, as the virus and widespread business closures create record unemployment, said James Thomson, a former Amazon manager and now partner at brand consultancy Buy Box Experts.

However, if Amazon can secure new Prime subscribers or push shoppers to buy its own devices, Prime Day will still be considered a success for the company because those things help draw more customers into the Amazon ecosystem where they're likely to remain and spend more money over the long-term, Thomson added.

Brands in hard-hit categories, such as apparel, remain excited about Prime Day because the event is guaranteed to drive more traffic, said Fahim Naim, a former Amazon executive and CEO of e-commerce consultancy eShopportunity. 

"If there's already so much traffic on the platform, you want some kind of Prime Day deal so customers can get excited," Naim said. "No one wants to buy anything at full price on that day." 

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