thinking about Amazon Prime Day

Yesterday was the first Prime Day for Amazon (AMZN).  The company’s press release indicates it was a very successful event, one that it will at least repeat in 2016.

My thoughts (I don’t own the stock, except maybe in a sector ETF):

the name  

It’s Amazon Prime Day.  If it sticks, it’s an incredible plus for Amazon.   Unlike Black Friday, which is when we’re all supposed to run amok buying stuff from anyone willing to sell, Prime Day is when you’re supposed to go to AMZN to buy.

sales volume

The company said that it sold “more units” on Prime Day than “the biggest Black Friday ever.”  I read this as meaning that AMZN sold lots of low-priced stuff yesterday.  If dollar volume were through the roof, I suspect AMZN would have said that.

sales composition

We know that a quarter of AMZN’s operating income comes from cloud services.  Let’s say that the company strives to break even overall on things it sells itself, but makes most of the rest of its money by selling for third parties (Fulfillment by Amazon).

–“Hundreds of thousands” of new customers signed up for trials of Prime, making it the biggest day of its kind ever for AMZN.

–It either sold, or sold out of, a lot of AMZN eco-system devices.

–Fulfillment by Amazon had its biggest unit sales day ever, nearly quadrupling worldwide unit volume from July 15, 2014.  Third parties had to commit in advance to having enough inventory in the AMZN distribution system to enable Prime delivery of items bought yesterday.  My guess is that this was a significant limiting factor for FbA sales, implying that 2016 sales could be a lot higher.

where did the sales come from?

Wal-Mart probably knows, but no one else.  The issue is whether AMZN redirected sales that it would have captured on other days of the month to the 15th, or whether AMZN took sales for itself that would have gone to other merchants if not for the Prime Day promotion.  My guess is that it’s primarily the latter.

stockouts and social media

The media focus I’m seeing this morning is on customers who are unhappy because they weren’t able to buy merchandise before deals were sold out. This is being portrayed as bad.   It seems to me, however, that this is free publicity doing two good things for AMZN:  in reinforces the idea that Prime Day is all about AMZN, and it highlights that the sale wasn’t all just random junk but did include a significant amount of desirable merchandise.

 

None of this is enough to make me a buyer of the stock.  Still, the first Prime Day seems to me to be a significant coup for AMZN.

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