Amazon’s 2023 Prime Day Captured Young Shoppers’ Attention — and Wallets

Brands analyst Ellyn Briggs unpacks who shopped Prime Day, how much they spent and what shares of shoppers spent more than they expected
Graphic conveying an Amazon Prime Day shopper
Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Kelly Rice
July 20, 2023 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • Nearly half (45%) of all U.S. adults said they shopped during Amazon’s Prime Day (July 11-12) this year, while almost two-thirds (62%) of self-identified Amazon Prime members said the same. 

  • A third of U.S. adults said they spent more than anticipated on their purchases during the event, where the median spend was $200. 

  • Amazon’s sales continue to capture young people’s attention: Gen Z adults and millennials are much more likely than their older counterparts to view the discounts offered during Prime Day as differentiated from other sales holidays throughout the year.

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Last week’s Prime Day raked in record sales not only for Amazon, but also for the whole of domestic e-commerce. Since its first Prime Day in 2015, the tech giant has spurred a cottage industry of copycat sales and turned mid-July into a consumer cultural moment akin to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. 

The massive success of Prime Day in the face of legal challenges and increasing competition from discount retailers points to Amazon’s continued dominance in the U.S. e-commerce landscape. According to a Morning Consult survey fielded after Prime Day, not only did nearly half of all U.S. adults say they shopped during the event, participation in and enthusiasm for the event was driven in large part by younger consumers. This makes Prime Day poised for continued growth as more millennials and Gen Z adults move forward in their careers, and given the attention Amazon commands from such large shares of key consumer groups, it very likely has the ability to be a sales trendsetter at any time of the year it so chooses.

Ultimately, major sales like Prime Day improve the perceived value of retail memberships, which is increasingly important as member fees get more expensive. 

Majorities of Prime members and Gen Zers say they shopped Prime Day

The most recent Prime Day was especially popular among Gen Z adults, as nearly 3 in 5 (58%) reported shopping the sale event. A majority of millennials (53%) also said they participated. 

More Than 2 in 5 U.S. Adults Shopped During Amazon’s Prime Day 2023

Shares of respondents who said they shopped during Amazon's Prime Day sales this year (July 11-12, 2023):
Morning Consult Logo
Survey conducted July 14-16, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,201 U.S. adults and 1,332 self-identified Amazon Prime members, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Young consumers’ interest in the 2023 edition of Prime Day wasn’t just a one-off. In a separate question, Gen Z adults (53%) and millennials (62%) were among the major demographic groups most likely to say they “often” or “sometimes” shop the sales of Prime Day, which has occurred at least once annually since 2015. In contrast, slim majorities of Gen Xers (52%) and baby boomers (54%) reported “rarely” or “never” engaging with the event. 

Specific demographics at scale: Surveying thousands of consumers around the world every day powers our ability to examine and analyze perceptions and habits of more specific demographics at scale, like those featured here.

Why it matters: Leaders need a better understanding of their audiences when making key decisions. Our comprehensive approach to understanding audience profiles complements the “who” of demographics and the “what” of behavioral data with critical insights and analysis on the “why.” 

Amazon said home goods, fashion and beauty were among this year’s top-selling Prime Day categories, all of which have notable appeal among Gen Zers, especially Gen Z women, according to previous Morning Consult research. Amazon also ranked among the youngest cohort’s top five favorite brands in our 2022 Gen Z’s Favorite Brands report. This is all good news for the company’s efforts to make itself a go-to destination for fashion and beauty. 

The median spend on Prime Day was $200, with the spending sweet spot between $51-$100

Pluralities of all adults and Prime members said they spent $51-$100 during the latest Prime Day, followed closely by $101-$200. 

Most Prime Day Shoppers Spent Between $51-$100 in 2023

Shares of respondents who said they spent the following during Amazon's Prime Day sales this year (July 11-12, 2023):
Morning Consult Logo
Not showing respondents who selected ‘Did not spend anything.’
Survey conducted July 14-16, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,136 U.S. adults and 910 self-identified Amazon Prime members, both groups of which reported shopping during Amazon Prime Day 2023, each with unweighted margins of error of +/-3 percentage points.

Approximately 1 in 10 respondents within each group reported spending $300 or more during Prime Day. While these “big spenders” spanned low, middle and high-household income bands, but skewed more heavily toward the former two. They were also more likely to be male and millennial. 

Additionally, one-third of all U.S. adults and 36% of Prime members who shopped Prime Day 2023 said they spent more than anticipated. This result may be a symptom of the 20% year-over-year increase in the use of buy-now, pay-later services observed during the sale, a consumer behavior that Morning Consult predicted would see ample growth in 2023 amid ongoing inflation. Consumers will likely continue to leverage BNPL offerings as they look toward holiday shopping later this year. More broadly, the sizable share of respondents who indicated overspending on Prime Day highlights the ability of deep discounts to encourage impulse shopping. 

Prime Day’s allure of exclusivity

Nearly a third of U.S. adults (30%) said the discounts offered on Prime Day are differentiated from that of other sale holidays throughout the year.

Compared with other holiday sales Morning Consult has tracked over the past year, including New Year’s and Memorial Day sales, Prime Day is one of the most exclusive in consumers’ minds, behind only Black Friday.

The Perceived Uniqueness of Amazon’s Prime Day Sales Varies

Shares of respondents who said Amazon's Prime Day offers discounts that are…
Morning Consult Logo
Survey conducted July 14-16, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,201 U.S. adults and 1,332 self-identified Amazon Prime members, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 and +/-3 percentage points, respectively. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

It’s notable that Prime Day still has meaningful salience for consumers amid a year of discounts driven by inflation. And it begs questions: Do sales events have to be increasingly massive in order to be relevant, and will retailers always be beholden to Amazon going forward? More and more, it’s looking to be the case, given that perceptions of Prime Day’s exclusivity are higher among Prime members (43%), Gen Z adults (35%) and millennials (37%). These groups are key to growth amid an increasingly crowded e-commerce marketplace.

Amazon’s investment in influencers paid off for its Gen Z audience 

In pursuit of such growth, Amazon placed an outsized emphasis on recruiting and educating influencers — who have proven to be effective sales generators among young audiences — ahead of this year’s Prime Day event. 

Amazon already has access to a massive talent pool through its influencer program, but Prime Day 2023 prompted the company to build out its influencer-support infrastructure, which included offering in-person events and instructional webinars focused on how to create promotional content months before the July sale. The influencers used streamlined affiliate link formats and consistently posted linked content at specific times over the two-day sale period, including early in the morning and just after standard working hours. This coordinated, repetitive approach made Amazon nearly ubiquitous on social media. 

As part of its influencer prep investment, Amazon also encouraged its social media partners to curate custom product guides specific to their own interests to help their followers generate purchase ideas and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, the company hosted a live game show featuring some of TikTok’s most popular creators during the first night of the sale.

Of course, most retailers have their own influencer programs, but seldom are as sophisticated and well established as the e-commerce giant’s initiative. It’s an asset that will likely continue to pay dividends as we head into the winter holiday shopping season.

A headshot photograph of Ellyn Briggs
Ellyn Briggs
Brands Analyst

Ellyn Briggs is a brands analyst on the Industry Intelligence team, where she conducts research, authors analyst notes and advises brand and marketing leaders on how to apply insights to make better business decisions. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Ellyn worked as a market researcher and brand strategist in both agency and in-house settings. She graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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