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A Peek Behind the Curtain of Prime Day 2021

What does a deep dive into the data behind the keywords, sales, and PPC for Prime Day in 2021 show? Here's the answer!

Prime Day is typically one of the biggest shopping events of the year for Amazon buyers and sellers. How was your Prime Day 2021? How did it compare to Prime Day 2020?  

In this article we will take a deep dive into the data to look at things like keyword demand trends, sales trends, and PPC trends!  I cannot take credit for most of this data. We have an AMAZING data science team here at Helium 10, who are always providing great information that gives unique insights into what is happening on Amazon

Before we get into the sales figures, let’s take a look at keyword demand.  

Amazon Prime Day Keyword Demand

Last year, Prime Day was October 13-14. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most searched keywords during Prime Day:

2apple watch
3nintendo switch
4air fryer
7face mask
10apple watch bands

This year, Prime Day was June 21 – 22. You will notice a lot of the same keywords being among the most searched for this year as well. 

2apple watch
3air fryer
5nintendo switch
7apple watch band

Many keywords from both years make sense. Last October, face masks were still in big demand. Things like “laptop,” “apple watch,” “nintendo switch,” and others seem to be consistent top searched keywords even outside of Prime Day.

The thing that was surprising to me is that “air fryer” also is a consistently top searched keyword.  There was a spike on Prime Day for “air fryer” as you can see from the below search volume history chart from Helium 10’s Keyword Tracker, however, there are hundreds of thousands of people who always search this keyword even outside of Prime Day!  

keyword search volume history

Some Data Points to Consider

One data point that was interesting to me was seeing the jump of some of the keywords on Prime Day that were in the top 10. For example, keywords such as “TV” and and “ipad” were only the 50th-60th most searched keywords on the days leading up to Prime day, but saw a big jump to the top 10 during Prime day.

data points

Looking at the 10th-20th most searched keywords on Prime day, you see even MORE interesting data as “ring” related products saw a HUGE jump in search volume during prime day.  

This shows that they (and Amazon) really did a great job of marketing the fact that they had Prime Day specials going on. As a matter of fact, I myself took advantage of them and purchased a ring doorbell and ring camera as well!

amazon prime day specials

Another data point that was interesting to me was the list of keywords that had the biggest increase during Prime Day. 

1sales deals
3prime deals of the day today only
4prime deals
5le creuset
7vera bradley
8plus size dresses for women
9under armour
10lightning deals

Search Volume History Helps Tell the Story

How big were some of these jumps? Take a look at these search volume history charts!

amazon search volume history

“Sales Deals” went from 11,000 searches the week before, to 800,000 estimated searches during the week of Prime Day!  

amazon search volume history

Another brand that really gets the word out there about their Prime Day specials is Le Creuset, a cookware brand. They jumped from 63,000 searches to over 300,000. But look there at the spike to 600,000 searches… you see when that was?  

Yup, last year’s Prime Day, October, 2020!

We also took a look also at all of the keywords that had the biggest DROP in search volume during Prime Day. There was not much insight there though as the top 20 were all keywords that had to do with the recent Fathers Day and Juneteenth holidays. 

What Were the Amazon Sales Numbers Like?

Let’s look at some sales numbers, shall we?

I asked the data scientists to find a large sample of data on sellers who were active sellers in both 2019 and 2020. I first wanted to compare the uptick in sales from the week leading up to Prime Day, compared to Prime Day for both years. I also wanted to just compare the two years to see how they progressed or regressed.  

2019 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $3,131.83

2019 Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $7,238.24

2020 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $5641.35

2020  Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $11,472.97

What are the takeaways here? 

First of all, we can see that in 2019, this group of sellers more than doubled (2.3X) their daily sales on Prime Day, compared to their average daily sales the week leading up to it. 

In 2020, those same sellers again doubled their average daily sales. It was also nice to see that those sellers were able to grow their business from 2019 to 2020. Both their average daily sales and Prime Day sales were both much higher. On average, their Prime Day 2020 was 50% higher than Prime Day 2019.

The next thing I wanted to look at was for a different cohort that was active in both 2020 and 2021. 

Here is what the data showed:

2020 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $4,938.14

2020 Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $9,996.53

2021 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $5609.60

2021  Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $10,731.58

THIS is where things get a little more interesting. 

First of all, even though this was a different large group of sellers, we could see similar numbers for 2020 between this group and the previous group. This group in 2020 also doubled their daily sales from the week before Prime Day, compared to Prime Day.

They nearly doubled it again this year for Prime Day. However, as I had written above, sellers in 2020 saw an approximate 50% increase in both regular sales and Prime Day sales compared to their numbers in 2019.

This year however, you only see about a 10% increase in sales from 2020 to 2021. The bump on Prime Day compared to the week before was also LESS than it was for ANY of these other sample groups.  

Project X Data Supports the Findings

On our Project X account here is what we saw

2020 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $282.33

2020 Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $508.89

2021 Average Daily Sales, the week before Prime Day: $400.10

2021  Average Daily Sales, Prime Day: $548.49

For this account, the uptick that Prime Day gave was even much less than the average seller it seems. What about you? What was your uptick for Prime Day?

Lets now talk about PPC!

One of the things that I wanted to check out was the year-over-year growth rate of daily ads spending.   

For sellers who sold in both 2019, and 2020, if you compare their daily ad spend the week leading up to Prime Day each year, they spent 60.2% MORE in 2020 than in 2019.  

However, if you take the sample of sellers who sold in 2020 and 2021, in the week leading up to Prime Day they only spent 21.2% more in 2021 than 2020. What a huge difference compared to the previous two years!

Going back to the 2019/2020 cohort, on Prime Day itself, they increased their PPC spend by 41.7% in 2020, compared to their 2019 Prime Day. However, for 2020/2021, the increase was only 36.4%.

38% of sellers spend DOUBLE on 2020 Prime Day ads compared to 2019. For 2021, only 28.4% of sellers spent double that of 2020. 

2020 Prime Day was one for the record books for sure. The entire year saw a dramatic increase in sales on Amazon.  

The Start of a Trend, or a Fluke?

Sales in 2021 do not appear to be down necessarily, however due to the times, as well as the fact that not a full year has passed since the last Prime Day, we can clearly see that the pre-Prime Day week + Prime Day sales did not get as much of a bump over 2020 this year, as opposed to the bump that 2020 received over 2019.

What do you think are the reasons that we did not see that much increase this year? Is it the time of year Prime day fell on? Is it due to the inventory limitations that Amazon instituted for many sellers? Do you think there simply wasn’t as much buzz around Prime Day 2021 as compared to 2020?

By any means, Prime Day 2021 was still huge for many sellers, and we hope it was for you too!

When will Prime Day 2022 be? Will we be going back to the increases we saw from 2019 to 2020? Only time will tell. One thing that is certain though is that Prime Day is permanently affixed as one of the most important selling days for most Amazon sellers!

Bradley Sutton


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