Online shoppers chase bargains on Amazon’s Prime Day

Global Business

Amazon Prime and other packages are unloaded from an UPS delivery truck before being unloaded in Miami, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Amazon Prime Day was launched July 16 and and will be six hours longer than last year’s and will launch new products. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Amazon’s Prime Day is a fairly new event – the first one was just three years ago. But it’s a key part of Amazon’s growth strategy, and a way to build its Prime membership.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman. 

Richard Hsu made his first Amazon purchase more than 20 years ago, buying a computer networking textbook.  Hundreds of purchases later he has become a devoted Amazon shopper.

“When we started shopping on Amazon it was books, CDs, textbooks- things like that. Now, it really is everything,” Says Hsu, as he prepares to shop for bargains on Amazon’s Prime Day.

Prime Day began in 2015. It joined Alibaba’s Singles Day plus Cyber Monday and Black Friday as major shopping events.

“I’ve begun to regard Prime Day as Black Friday in the middle of summer,” said Hsu.

He quickly spies his first purchase:  a pair of Echo Dots, Amazon’s digital assistant, for his two sons. The regular price is $49.99 but on Prime day he buys a pair of the devices for the price of one.

“I can always justify it saying it’s for the kids,” he said.

Like many shoppers taking part in this 36-hour sale, Richard hit a snag as Amazon struggled to keep up with heavy traffic, but after a few clicks, the Echo Dots are on their way.

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that currently costs $119 a year. Prime members get free fast shipping plus access to Amazon music, video and other features. There are currently more than 100 million subscribers.

“I think the underlying story of Prime Day is Prime membership. Last year, they added a record number of Prime members and think they will do that again this year, and I think that’s what investors will be looking at- how this affects Prime membership moving forward,” Daniel Sparks, an analyst at The Motley Fool said.

Amazon has expanded beyond online retail – purchasing the Whole Foods grocery chain, opening brick and mortar stores and their own line of electronics.

The Amazon Prime phenomenon has created a loyal following of users always ready to click and buy.

“I’m addicted to Amazon,” Says Hsu with a laugh.