Prime Day gives holiday shop­pers early start

Daily Southtown - - Business - By Joseph Pisani Bloomberg News contribute­d.

NEWYORK— Hal­loween is still weeks away, but re­tail­ers are hop­ing you’ll start your holiday shop­ping now.

The push is com­ing from Ama­zon, hold­ing its Prime Day sales event Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, kick-start­ing the holiday shop­ping sea­son. It’s the first time Prime Day that has been held in the fall.

Wal­mart, Best Buy and Tar­get are also of­fer­ing on­line deals over the same two days, hop­ing to lure deal seek­ers.

There’s good rea­son for the early start. Re­tail­ers are wor­ried that a rush of on­line or­ders later could lead to ship­ping de­lays in Novem­ber and December.

And stores want to avoid big crowds in­side their stores dur­ing the pan­demic. The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion said shop­ping in crowded stores dur­ing Thanks­giv­ing holiday week­end, when stores typ­i­cally start their holiday deals, is a higher risk ac­tiv­ity.

More than 3 in 4 con­sumers plan to shop ear­lier this year than a year ago, with a third cit­ing safety con­cerns, ac­cord­ing to an In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil of Shop­ping Cen­ters sur­vey re­leased Fri­day.

Mar­ket re­search firm e Mar­keter ex­pects Ama­zon to bring in $9.9 bil­lion in sales world­wide dur­ing the two-day event, up 43% from last year.

Prime Day, which Ama­zon started in 2015 as a way to get peo­ple shop­ping dur­ing the sum­mer lull, has be­come one of the com­pany’s big­gest shop­ping days of the year, of­fer­ing dis­counts on TVs, toys and its own gad­gets, such as Fire tablets and Echo voice-ac­ti­vated speak­ers.

Ama­zon also sees it as away to get more peo­ple to sign up for its Prime membership, since only those pay­ing $12.99 a month or $119 a year can par­take in the dis­counts.

It’s a win­ning com­bi­na­tion for Ama­zon, which ear­lier this year hired more than 175,000 for its net­work of ful­fill­ment cen­ters af­ter a spike in on­line or­ders over­whelmed the com­pany, forc­ing it to de­lay some de­liv­er­ies. Ama­zon re­ported record prof­its last quar­ter, and in­vestors have pushed the shares up 85% this year, giv­ing Ama­zon a $1.7 tril­lion mar­ket value.

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