Member Exclusive   //   July 4, 2024

Research Briefing: Ahead of Prime Day, Amazon remains resilient against competitors

By Li Lu

In this edition of the weekly briefing, we examine how retailers are reacting this year to Amazon’s Prime Day announcement as seen in data from Modern Retail+ Research.

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Retailers compete against Prime Day

Breaking News: Amazon has announced its 2024 Prime Day sale, July 16-17. In the wake of its announcement major retailer competitors Target and Walmart have also announced their major discount days as well, Target Circle Week and Walmart Deals. Both retailers will start their deal weeks earlier than Amazon, likely in hopes to ride the shopping hype before Prime Day. Big-Box retailers are not the only ones competing against Prime Day as well. For example, Ulta currently has its Big Summer Beauty Sale and Nordstrom also has its Anniversary Sale before Prime Day. Many other retailers are looking to get in on retailer discount “holidays” that Prime Day drives.  

Questions: How are retailers comparing to Amazon and each other? Where are each retailer’s strengths and weaknesses?

Answers From Research:

In the face of a shifting retail landscape fraught with new business demands and economic dynamics, the Modern Retail Index (MRI) aims to provide an in-depth look at how businesses have evolved their digital strategies to handle uncertain times. This research framework analyzes the maturity and breadth of a retailer’s digital strategy, not the retailer’s performance across all business aspects. As such, the scored dimensions have a focus on digital capabilities: E-commerce Experience, Ease of Fulfillment and Financial Momentum.

In the index’s financial dimension, Amazon had the best financial performance and also ranked No. 1 in the overall index. The retail giant’s success comes as no surprise, and the retailer has continued to expand into new markets to increase growth. In 2023, Amazon struck deals with Shopify and Meta to allow for more shoppable options on sites other than Along with establishing these external partnerships, Amazon also has been building out its internal capabilities by expanding the benefits of its Prime program and also introducing a new large language model (LLM) called Alexa LLM to increase its AI capabilities. 

Walmart was a standout among big-box retailers. The retailer looked to fortify other areas of its business beyond in-store sales to ride out the 2023 economic downturn. Within e-commerce, Walmart bolstered its paid membership plan by adding new features and benefits to bring in more customers. It also continued to increase online tools, such as integrating AI into its search engine and continuing its third-party marketplace.

The specialty retail cohort offered a mixed bag of financial performances. The beauty category saw major financial gains in 2023, particularly in e-commerce. Ulta benefitted from this trend and was a top performer, while Dick’s Sporting Goods and Chewy fell into the middle of the financial ranking. Barnes & Noble appeared in the bottom quartile of the index. 

Want to learn more: The Modern Retail+ Index examines how retailers and their cohorts, such as big box, drug store and home goods, compare to each other and what trends are appearing.


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