Amazon Prime Day 2022—everything brands need to know –

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Now in its eighth year, Amazon Prime Day has become a “Christmas in July” bonanza for retailers and brands as marketers discount items and drive awareness. Early on, Amazon’s move spurred copycats by competitors such as Target and eBay—the latter even went so far as to air a snarky ad taking direct aim at Amazon three years ago.
Now, many sellers will wait to offer deals specifically designed for Prime Day. They’re trying to cash in on “an oasis in the middle of summer,” for brands, according to Kiri Masters, founder and chief executive of Bobsled Marketing, a digital agency.
“You have this event that generates some pretty meaningful revenue just from a cash flow perspective, it helps to smooth things out for brands,” Masters said.
Amazon’s two-day event will occur on July 12 and 13 this year, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced late last month. There are also rumors that a second Prime Day event will occur this fall, ahead of the busy winter holiday shopping season.
But this year, with high inflation affecting virtually all consumer products, the summer shopping event will look drastically different as brands try to take advantage of customer eyeballs but also plan for their bottom line. Below, Ad Age offers a primer on what to expect.
Amazon waited until less than a month before this year’s event to announce the new dates.  As part of the promotion, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant released a two-and-a-half-minute music video starring award-winning musician Jon Batiste. In “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Cart,” he offers his own shopping-pun-laden take on Billy Ocean’s song “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” Also featuring a talking blender and dancing vacuum, the spoof video reveals Batiste’s love of sequined pillows, cocoa butter lotion and massagers.
Two weeks ago, Amazon sent an email to customers with the subject line, “Leaked: Prime Day Deals.” The message read, “Prime Day isn’t here yet, but some early Prime Day deals are ready to party.” So-called “early deals” included Amazon products such as a Ring video doorbell for $15 less than its $99.99 price and an Amazon Eero 6 for $71 instead of $89, along with discounts on Amazon’s home towel brands and fitness attire.
Related: How brands can benefit from Prime Day
In true competitive retail fashion, mere hours after Amazon announced its 2022 dates, Target sent out a press release touting its own “Deal Days,” which will run from July 11 through July 13. A line promoting the “savings on hundreds of thousands of items” took a subtle dig at Amazon’s Prime membership fees by noting “no membership fee required.” This is the fourth year Target has run a summer shopping holiday at the same time as its competitor.
Walmart typically runs its own “Deals for Days” event as well, though the retailer had yet to announce this year’s dates by late June.
Kohl’s said it will host sales on July 12 and 13 as part of its Summer Cyber Deals, which includes free shipping and pickup with no membership or minimum purchase required.
Chains might get a boost to their physical stores this year. In 2021, for example, visits during the week of Prime Day were up 0.6% at Walmart, 4.4% at Best Buy and 1% at Target compared to the previous five weeks’ average, according to a recent report from, which analyzes foot traffic data.
Marketers that have participated in Prime Day in years past say it is typically worth the trouble, especially from an awareness standpoint. State Bags began selling its backpacks on Amazon in late 2020 and discounted items for Prime Day last summer.
“Prime Day is a strong opportunity to build momentum for your brand on Amazon,” said Meghan Holzhauer, chief marketing officer at State, which sells through its own channels, boutique retail stores and had a collection with Target last year. “It’s similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of so many people are opening their wallets and they want to buy.” She noted that Prime Day also provides an opportunity for brands like State to receive reviews from satisfied buyers, which creates long-lasting appeal.
Last year, the 48-hour Amazon event generated $6.8 billion in revenue, a 9% rise over 2020, according to estimates from Morgan Stanley cited by Variety. Amazon did not release sales specifics.
Standing out from the crowd can be challenging for marketers. Last year’s global event featured more than 2 million deals across all categories, Amazon said.
Hydros, a 12-year-old startup selling sustainable water filtration products, employs an agency to help it navigate the ups and downs of Amazon, particularly around Prime Day. The brand, which also sells at some grocery stores, began selling on Amazon three years ago and participated in Prime Day in 2021.
“There’s a lot of products on Amazon, so it’s really putting thought from day one into your brand and Amazon architecture,” said Hydros Founder and Chief Executive Winston Ibrahim, noting this means focusing on “how everything is arranged, how you’re driving visibility to your specific offers and how competitive those offers are on a relative basis to your category.”
Hydros works on commission with the Stable, a commerce agency, on its Amazon account. This means tracking ad keywords and checking algorithms, Ibrahim said.
In 2021, Hydros saw a sales spike following its Prime Day offering. “It was like a 500% bump overnight,” said Ibrahim, who notes that Amazon in general represents 20% of Hydros’ revenue.  
But experts say this year’s Prime Day will look markedly different from previous iterations as brands battle cost increases. Discounts will not be as deep. A brand that offered a discount of 30% last year can no longer afford to promote the same deal since the company is likely hampered by higher costs of materials and production. The majority of brands, or 61%, plan to discount the same or less this Prime Day as in 2021, according to an informal poll of both clients and non-clients from Bobsled’s Masters.
“Not all brands are interested in running really appealing discounts this year,” she said, noting that many companies had been “eating the cost of price increases” but recently raised their prices by 10% to 15% for customers and finally regained their profit margins. “Now Prime Day is upon us and they have to discount again to be relevant—that is the challenge,” Masters said.
State Bags is planning to only discount its older styles so as not to lose money on its recently released collection ahead during the crucial back-to-school season. Last Prime Day, the brand ran a tiered promotion with smaller discounts for new bags and deeper sales for older styles it wanted to clear out.
“It just doesn’t make sense for us to discount our core collection,” said Holzhauer.
In terms of categories, a recent survey from retail research firm Coresight Research found that most consumers plan to spend on clothing, footwear, electronics, books, movies or other media such as video games. The report found that 22.5% of respondents plan to make an Amazon purchase during the sales event.
Amazon usually has several rules around how brands can participate. For example, they need to offer a meaningful discount based on an item’s price—something higher than 2% or 5% off. Masters said that brands can also use coupons—if a consumer clicks a box before checking out, a product costs less money. But for the first time this year, Amazon issued a deadline for brands to submit requests for Prime Day coupons, a contrast with previous years during which brands could submit mere hours before Prime Day began, Masters said. The deadline this year was June 10, more than a month early.
Masters hypothesized that the new deadline was created in order to add a sense of urgency and encourage brands to “be proactive” with discounts.
“Amazon, part of their messaging especially this year to consumers is that there’s going to be great deals on Prime Day, and they have to really prove that this year because people don’t want to spend money,” Masters said. By getting coupon requests earlier on, Amazon will be able to communicate to consumers how many merchants will be participating in order to encourage shopping. “This year more than ever they need to prove it’s going to be a good shopping opportunity for merchants and shoppers,” Masters added.
Experts say yes. Brands need to play a long game when it comes to Prime Day—get consumers to their product pages during the event so brands can remarket to them later on.
“Leading up to Prime Day, the cost of advertising goes way up and the return on ad spend goes way down,” said Masters, noting that many consumers are simply researching products ahead of time and not prepared to actually purchase goods until the sales. Actual Prime Day return on ad investment is better because consumers are more apt to purchase higher-cost items. Masters advises her clients to use the month before Prime Day to boost traffic to their product pages and then retarget them with Amazon’s equivalent of cookies later on. “You might retarget them immediately after Prime Day or use that audience for the fourth quarter,” she advised.
In this article:
Adrianne Pasquarelli is a senior reporter at Ad Age, covering marketing in retail and finance, as well as in travel and health care. She is also a host of the Marketer’s Brief podcast and spearheads special reports including 40 Under 40 and Hottest Brands. Pasquarelli joined Ad Age in 2015 after writing for Crain’s New York Business, where she also focused on the retail industry.