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Amazon Sales Trends / Sales Estimates New Feature

Perhaps you have noticed that for months, Amazon has been doing a test in search results where they show estimates on sales or views of products. Like the review tests they have been doing, you might have seen different versions of this test such as pictured above where it might say “X bought in the past month.”  Previously you would see a version that might have said “X bought in the past week.”

Amazon results show estimates and view of products

The test must have worked out for them because today, they announced that it is now a new permanent feature of the search results. Where does this number come from? Can it be trusted? Do you still need the free Helium 10 Chrome Extension to get sales estimates? Let’s dive into these topics!

First, we will cover the official information that comes from Amazon on this topic, and then we will dive into some numbers pulled bout our data scientists so that you can have a good idea of the accuracy of these sales estimates. By the way, this is an unparalleled look into this that you will not get anywhere else since our team analyzed MILLIONS of products daily for 3 months to gather this report!

What is the “Sales Trend” and how is it Calculated?

Per Amazon, Sales trend helps customers differentiate products in Amazon’s vast catalog by providing a broad estimate of the number of customers who recently purchased a product. Sales trend data is refreshed at least daily and does not include returns and cancellations. 

I see the number of sales for products my competitors sell but not on mine. How do I turn it on?

A sales trend appears when a minimum number of customers have recently purchased a particular ASIN. Usually, you won’t see a number less than 50 in the last month.  It is not shown for all categories. Amazon has stated that they may expand this feature and add new categories in the future. Note that it is a number of customers, and not units, or orders. 

minimum number of customers that have purchased a particular ASIN

The number of sales shown on my products is not accurate. Why does it not match Seller Central?

According to Amazon, Sales trend provides a broad estimate of the number of customers who purchased a particular ASIN, across everyone selling that ASIN. Sales trend is not the number of units sold or orders made so it may not exactly match what you see in Seller Central. More details below on a deep study we did of these numbers. 

How does the number of sales shown work for products that have variations?

If the product is presented as a child ASIN with a single price, the sales trend indicates the number of customers who purchased that child ASIN. If the product is presented as a parent ASIN with a range of prices, the sales trend indicates the sum of customers who made purchases for all child ASINs in that variation family.

How Accurate are the Sales Estimates of this new Amazon Sales Trend?

When we first started seeing these metrics come out, I asked our data science team to do a deep dive to compare the data to real Amazon data from Seller Central.  

We have a team of guys that are way smarter than me, (Looking at YOU Vlad!) and they gave me a detailed report that honestly at first glance confused me, but I will try to translate these advanced mathematics to those like me who might have not taken any classes beyond Algebra 2 in high school!

How Often is the Data Updated?

Amazon had said it is calculated daily.  After observing this data for 3 months, we found that not all ASINS were updated daily, so this might be something they gradually will incorporate down the road.

ASIN data

Looking a the above graph, the bottom number (X axis) represents the number of days between sales trend updates, and the left number (Y axis) represents the number of listings that are represented at each of the time periods.

As you can see, yes, many listings were updated every day, however, some listings were not updated in 90 days!  This would obviously affect the accuracy if you were expecting the number to represent the last month of sales. 

What does “Past Month” Mean?

There are two possibilities here.  It could mean the last calendar month, kind of like brand analytics.  In other words, if today is 9/21, and you look at “last month’s” data in Helium 10, or Brand Analytics, it would refer to the last calendar month…August 1-31.

The other possibility is that it’s referring to the last 29/30/31 days. The team did a detailed analysis to determine the probability of which one Amazon is referring to, and this, coupled with some of the official data released by Amazon, makes us certain that it’s referring to the previous 29/30/31 days. 

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How Many Sales Trend Numbers Match Actual Sales?

As Amazon said above, the number at times might not match Seller Central since it’s kind of comparing apples and oranges. (customers vs. units).  However, if you are curious as to how “off” the data is, the team outdid themselves. 

The above to me was a bunch of gibberish at first.  However, here is an example of how they broke the data down:

Let’s say that “real sales” on an ASIN for the last 30 days was 548 units. Let’s say that the sales trend data says “500+.” They would consider this to be an exact match (0 above on the x-axis) since it is close per their unit of calculation to the real sales.  

However, let’s say that in another example, real sales were 1191 units.  On the sales trend, it said “5000+” units. Using their calculation this would fall in the -80% on that distribution plot above since real sales were less by 80%.  

Still confused?  Let me break down just three of them. Of the ones that we consider an “exact” match, there were 1.8 million ASINs! Of the ones that were more than 100% off either way were 1.6 million ASINs. So while there was a lot that had high accuracy, there were almost an equal number where the number was way off.

Remember though that this does not mean per se, that the data is wrong.  As Amazon stated, their number refers to customers, not sales. But this is just to show that if you are looking for a super close estimate of sales, then this is not necessarily the means to do that. 

One thing to note is that let’s say we just want the data to be “right,” but not necessarily “highly accurate.” For example. If the sales trend says “1,000+ in last month,” that means that 1,500, but also 15,000, and 150,000 technically are all “right.” since those are all over 1,000.  If you want to look at accuracy in that way, the Amazon number was 96% accurate. 

I personally wouldn’t look at it in that way if I am looking to analyze a niche. There’s obviously a huge difference between 1,000 and 10,000 sales in a month.  

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One thing I haven’t talked about is who this change was made for. It was not made for us sellers. This was made with buyers in mind, as we know Amazon is very buyer-centric.

Amazon wanted to give customers a way to see which products are more popular than others in a more upfront way than just BSR it seems. Thus, customers can get more “social proof” of a product outside of just the number of reviews. It also can help customers understand which products are selling NOW, as opposed to just a high number of reviews that were gained years ago. 

Honestly, as an Amazon customer, I cannot say if my purchase behavior has been any different.  The things I have bought lately with this new number, I haven’t really paid too much attention to that number unless it was something huge and others were very small.  I’m still mainly looking at reviews and the listing itself.

What about you? Do you think this will help or hurt you?  Regardless of what you think of how it will change your customers’ buying experience, I think we would all agree that we still need the accurate sales estimations that you get with Helium 10 Xray when doing product research and validation.  

One thing that this can help with though is that since BSR (and Xray) is based on the variation listings as a whole, this new Amazon sales trend can help give us ideas on which child items are selling the most. 

I hope your brain doesn’t hurt after all of these numbers, but thanks again to Ivan, Vlad, and the rest of the team who helped me dive into the numbers behind the new sales trend feature from Amazon!

Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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