Amazon 'Prime Day' owes a hat tip to Alibaba

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Amazon Prime Day is here, which means U.S. consumers are ramping up for the ultimate summer shopping spree with door-busting deals, while Amazon is anticipating record-breaking revenue sales.

Nonetheless, this year’s shoppers will stretch far beyond U.S. borders. Amazon Prime Day is now a global shopping holiday with consumers all over the world taking part in the annual splurge. Even the concept of a shopping holiday isn’t exclusive to the U.S. In fact, the largest online shopping day in the world, Singles Day, is rooted in China, and from the looks of it, Amazon is taking notes.

Amazon Prime Day has taken a few plays out of Alibaba’s Singles Day to keep pace with last year’s bustling growth. For starters, Amazon extended Prime Day to two full days this year, (July 15-16), as a way to extend and boost sales—a similar approach Alibaba took in 2018 by prolonging sales for 48 hours. This allowed shoppers more time to peruse half a million items from thousands of merchants on the Alibaba platform, spanning more than 70 countries, which means an increase in average spending per consumer, and even bigger revenue sales for Alibaba.
Last year’s Amazon Prime Day reported over 100 million items sold for an estimated $4.2 billion, an increase of 74% from 2017. To compare, $7.9 billion was spent on this year’s Cyber Monday, so there is upward potential for Prime Day.

However, the point to consider is the global reach of these two shopping holidays. Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day have historically been aimed at American consumers. But with shifting trends, e-commerce is globalizing fast, and consumers stretching all corners of the globe are able to take part thanks to sharp and seamless payments innovations.

Singles Day, on the other hand, is primarily based in China, but in recent years has expanded to other parts of Asia and even regions across the globe. In 2018, the online shopping holiday saw sales in excess of $30 billion in just 24 hours. This number is more than Amazon Prime Day and Cyber Monday combined, this global e-commerce approach is a clear indicator of its success. In fact, U.S. consumers even contributed to $1.82 billion worth of sales this past Singles Day.

It’s evident that Amazon is now taking a similar global-centric approach to replicate some of Alibaba’s success. Amazon Prime Day is now available in 17 countries with more expected to pop up in the near future. In 2017, Prime Day was extended to Canada, U.K., Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Belgium and Austria, and then to Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg just last year. This year, it's available to shoppers in the United Arab Emirates and across the Middle East as well.

Selling cross-border is a golden opportunity to increase sales for Amazon and its 100 million global subscribers. Rising global spending powers further confirm the massive opportunity. 85% of the world’s purchasing power falls outside the United States, so reaching global consumers is advantageous to maximize global sales. This is demonstrated across various regions as 73% of Singapore consumers shop cross-border and Germany has a B2C e-commerce volume of $105.1 billion.

Only time will tell what the outcome of this year’s Amazon Prime Day will be, but the numbers clearly show a shift towards a global growth mindset. Alibaba’s Singles Day has created a proven template for a successful shopping holiday, and it’s now up to U.S. online giants like Amazon to apply a similar strategy.

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