Member Exclusive   //   October 19, 2023

Amazon Briefing: Why the October Prime Day turned out to be a hit with CPG brands

This is the latest installment of the Amazon Briefing, a weekly Modern Retail+ column about the ever-changing Amazon ecosystem. More from the series →

Amazon’s fall sales event drove a spike in sales for a host of food and beverage brands selling on its marketplace.

On Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Days — often dubbed the second Prime Day — baking brand Supernatural saw a roughly 5x increase in sales compared to the same date range last year. Supernatural founder Carmel Hagen told Modern Retail items like rainbow softie sprinkles and its food color variety pack clocked sales of $10,000 each day for two days in a row on October 10 and October 11 respectively. Separately, beverage brand Recess saw a 7x lift in sales during this second Prime Day compared to its average daily revenue run rate over the past few months. Additionally, mushroom-based functional energy drink Odyssey Elixir reported a 1,210% increase in sales compared to last year’s fall Prime Day.

According to brands and agency heads, this recent jump in sales was partly because Amazon offered more exclusive placements to grocery and consumable product brands for the 2023 Big Deal Days event. Grocery brands were “more visible” during this “which I believe is one of the main reasons that they did so much better,” said Cameron Messick, founder of Amazon agency AmplifyAMZ who works with at least three grocery brands selling via Amazon.

Some thought this was a big sales period for CPG brands because Amazon was pushing its popular Subscribe and Save program model and making it more prominent. “All of these categories are Subscribe and Save eligible. I theorize this might be one of the reasons that Amazon made this such a good Prime Day for CPG categories,” said Messick.

Amazon’s Prime Big Deals Day, which ran last week on October 10 and 11, is meant to be a curtain raiser for holiday shopping. Prime Day typically happens in July and has been occurring since 2015, but Amazon launched the companion event, Prime Big Deals Day, last year. With this second fall Prime Day in the books, brands said they’re seeing strong consumer sentiment and an overall eagerness to shop to find good deals, Modern Retail previously reported.

This year, Amazon said Prime members purchased more than 25 million items on the first day of Prime Big Deal Days. “This event outpaced last year’s holiday kick-off event, with more Prime members shopping this year,” wrote Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores in a company blog.

Messick said that this year, the grocery category was featured as one of the top categories to shop for the event, which is typically reserved for electronics brands, e-bikes or other more expensive items. “I noticed that the grocery category was actually on the first page, whereas in the past, it’s never been on the first page that I’ve seen,” said Messick.

Messick said one of his clients that sells chilli paste saw an 8x lift sales lift this fall Prime Day. Meanwhile, a cooking oil brand he works with reported a 3x sales lift.

For Supernatural, “this was the Prime Day that mattered and it came as a total surprise,” said Hagen. She added that the company saw a sales lift that typically only happens during the holidays. “This is the increase that we see when it’s November 26 and everyones decided that it’s time to buy sprinkles all at once. We don’t see this multiple except for seasonally,” Hagen added. By contrast, during the most recent summer Prime Day, Supernatural only saw around a 20% increase from a standard day, Hagen added.

Recess CEO and Founder Ben Witte chalked up his brand’s sales increase to the fact that the sparkling beverage brand has been building up its awareness on Amazon over the past couple of years. “Our deal of 30% off was more prominently featured by Amazon, because the business was doing so well on Amazon ahead of Prime Day, and we got a top deal. I think that has a major lift too,” said Witte. Recess was featured prominently in the food and beverage brands section under Prime Big Deal Days, but it was not visible on the Amazon homepage.

Recess has grown more than 300% year-on-year on Amazon since it first began selling on the marketplace in 2021. Witte said Recess, which has been a part of two previous summer Prime Days, saw a 4x lift in sales both times, and those were off a smaller base. “The fact that we’re seeing 7x off of a substantially higher base for us is pretty exciting.”

Witte also attributed the Prime Big Deal Days spike to its new lines of craft mocktail beverages, as well as new relaxation drinks and supplements that were recently added to its catalog. “I look at the second Prime Day in the context of a rapidly growing business on Amazon. For this Prime Day, things were just compounded further. And so, yeah, it was very exciting results,” explained Witte.

Overall Witte said the upcoming months are important for many CPG categories and brands. “I’ve been saying this for a while, basically every new category or space within the CPG industry is going to essentially be first built on Amazon.”

Messick added that he thinks Amazon has been trying to tap into the grocery category for years, and that Amazon will continue to push CPG brands particularly during the fall Prime Day. “I do think it will continue to be successful for the grocery category specifically.”

Amazon news to know

  • Amazon is rolling out drone delivery for pharmacy orders in Texas. Right now, the service is being tested out in College Station, Texas.
  • More robots are coming to Amazon warehouses. According to the company, a new system that uses robotics to streamline its operations can speed up the fulfillment process by as much as 25%.
  • A Dutch consumer rights group is suing Amazon over its data collection practices. The watchdog alleges that Amazon violated European privacy laws by tracking users via cookies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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