In Depth

Amazon up 80% despite 'Prime Day fail'

Tweeters mocked Amazon's day of discounts, but online retailer reports strong sales

Reaction to Amazon's much-hyped 'Prime Day' sale has been mixed. To celebrate its 20th birthday, the online retailer decided to host a "better than Black Friday" sale event.

As the sale began, social media erupted with disdain and by the afternoon, the hashtag #PrimeDayFail was trending on Twitter.

Several tweeters compared Prime Day to a garage sale:

One went even further: 

A widespread complaint was that that the discounts seemed to be more on mundane everyday items, rather than appliances and electronics: 

One tweeter said she preferred the reaction to the sale itself:

However, Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law defended the sale, saying "customers want vitamins and Rubbermaid as much as they want TVs and headphones."

Perhaps she had a point: Amazon's US sales rocketed by 80 per cent four hours into the sale, according to online retail tracker ChannelAdvisor. European sales grew by 40 per cent.

Just over half-way through the 24-hour sale, Amazon said: "Prime Day peak order rates have already surpassed 2014 Black Friday." However, it added that the claim referred to the speed with which customers were ordering once they entered the site.

As the sale came to an end, branding experts said that the online retailer's reputation may have taken a hit. Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates said: "The Amazon business model is everyday value. Jumping on the bandwagon to try to create Black Friday in muggy July really feels off-brand for Amazon."

Walmart and Best Buy, who offered online sales of their own in direct response to Prime Day, criticised the fact Amazon's sale was only offered to subscribers to the online retailer's Prime service.

Walmart.com President and CEO Fernando Madeira posted on Walmart's blog that "some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale. But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn't add up for us."

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