Amazon Prime Day Highlighted by Disappointment

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While Amazon’s first ever Prime Day was billed as the single greatest sale event of the year, the general consensus among online shoppers wasn’t quite so positive. Angry tweets, disgruntled Facebook messages and snarky message board threads -- if indicative of the majority -- suggests Amazon didn’t have quite the impact it had anticipated. However, while it may have been a PR nightmare, Amazon still managed to reap some pretty impressive profits over the course of the 24-hour event. And despite the fact that Prime Day ended just hours ago, there’s a lot to digest and review. Specifically, let’s look at three major takeaways.

Related: What Prime Day Means for Amazon and Other Ecommerce Brands

Discounted items failed to impress.

The biggest issue with Prime Day was that the discounts weren’t nearly as good as expected. Amazon boldly claimed there would be better deals than the annual Black Friday shopping holiday but customers didn’t feel like that was the case. Some of the lousy discounts shoppers tweeted about included airplane seatbelt extenders, Tupperware sets, microfiber towels, bundt cake molds, cup holders, and other knickknacks.

Aside from a handful of the pre-publicized deals on things like HD TVs, it seems like the best deals were on Amazon’s own items. For example, Kindles were marked down from $79 to $49, the Fire Stick from $39 to $25 and the new Echo from $179 to $129. While those are decent deals for customers already in the market for these items, they were hardly noteworthy. 

The lack of good deals led to a new trending hashtag: #PrimeDayFail. All you have to do is run a quick search on the hashtag and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. According to Adobe Digital Index, 50 percent of the overall sentiment related to Amazon Prime Day was negative in nature. Not surprisingly, the report added that, “Much of the disappointed chatter focused on the lack of blockbuster deals.”

Lower-than-expected inventory and wait lists.

But it wasn’t just the lack of discounts that frustrated customers. Many were disappointed to discover that deals were already sold out by the time the logged onto the site. This indicated that Amazon didn’t stash as much inventory as they should have. By early Wednesday morning, many of the top deals were already gone -- meaning customers who didn’t awake at the crack of dawn saw very little to get excited about.

Related: On Its 20th Birthday, 20 Fascinating Facts About Amazon That You Didn't Already Know

According to one report, 91 percent of all Kindles were sold out by noon eastern time. Two hours later, 40 percent of all “lightning deals” were gone. But what frustrated so many customers was the concept of waiting lists. At some point, customers were required to sign up on a waiting list to have the opportunity to possibly buy a product they wanted. Remember, customers already had to pay for Prime (or sign up for a free trial) to obtain the exclusive right to shop Prime Day deals. The idea that they would then have to get on a list to secure a marginal discount was icing on a disappointing cake for many.

Amazon still manages to earn major profits.

However, despite all of the negative PR and supposedly “poor deals,” Amazon appears to have turned a healthy profit. Sales numbers were not immediately available, but Amazon claims it sold 35,000 Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray sets in a span of 15 minutes, all Kate Spade handbags in 60 seconds, 4,000 Echo devices in 15 minutes, 1,200 $999 TV’s in less than 10 minutes, and plenty more.

ChannelAdvisor says Amazon’s daily sales numbers were up more than 80 percent at noon eastern time in the United States and up 40 percent across Europe. While many customers complained, thousands more were satisfied enough to make a purchase.

The future of Prime Day.

Say what you want about the lack of good deals and the annoying wait lists, but consumers still purchased products in droves. Will Prime Day become an annual event? If you polled those inside Amazon, the answer would definitely be a resounding yes. There will certainly need to be some tweaks, but the fact that sales numbers were through the roof is enough to tell you Amazon will be back at it again. They say any publicity is good publicity and Amazon’s Prime subscription service has never received more attention than it did on July 15th.

Related: Is Amazon's Prime Day Sale Shaping Up to Be a Dud?