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Amazon Prime Day converted more browsers to buyers – and here’s what they were searching

Amazon turned more online window shoppers into buyers this Prime Day – and not just on Amazon.com.

The e-commerce giant’s conversion rate grew to 13.5% during the 48-hour Prime Day on July 15 and 16, up more than 16% from its conversion rate during Prime Day 2018, and up 20.5% from the Prime Day before that, according to a new report from web analytics firm SimilarWeb. This came even as average traffic to Amazon slightly declined versus Prime Day 2018, falling 1.5%.

Conversion rate in this case measures the percentage of site visitors that then go on to make a purchase on the platform, averaged over the two-day event.

Traffic to Amazon came in higher during Prime Day 2019 than during Cyber Monday and Black Friday, but was slightly lower than during Prime Day 2018, according to SimilarWeb data.

For Amazon, Prime Day 2019’s conversion rate was greater than that of Prime Day 2018, Cyber Monday and Black Friday, SimilarWeb reported.

While Amazon’s conversion rate average higher than many other e-retailers, the results during Prime Day 2019 were elevated even by Amazon’s standards. The company’s typical conversion rate hovers at 9.3%, according to SimilarWeb data.

Amazon’s Prime Day 2019 topped last year’s event on other major measures as well. While Amazon does not breakout the total dollar amount of products sold on Prime Day, multiple research firms estimated that Prime Day 2019 generated more than $6 billion in sales, marking Amazon’s biggest sales event yet.

Beyond Amazon

Amazon wasn’t the only website to get a conversion-rate boost during the two-day sales event. Looking to cash in on the buying frenzy that typically accompanies Prime Day, other online retailers offered discounts of their own during the same period – and reaped in the results.

Walmart.com’s conversion rate during Prime Day grew by nearly a third versus last year’s Prime Day to 5.7%. This gave it the second-highest conversion rate for the 2019 event among major e-retailers tracked by SimilarWeb, although it still trailed Amazon’s rate by a wide margin. Walmart launched a Summer Savings event that overlapped with Amazon Prime Day.

Conversion rate increased for Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy during Prime Day 2019 versus Prime Day 2018, according to SimilarWeb.

Best Buy, which also slashed prices during the Prime Day period, saw the biggest boost over last year, with conversion growth up 41% year-over-year to 3.8%.

“What I really think this shows is how how much larger a buying event and holiday Prime Day is becoming, not just on Amazon, but across the entire internet,” Jamie Drayton, SimilarWeb solutions consultant, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

“This is normally not a regular purchasing time. This is the total offseason, six months away from what we associate being those big-buying holidays like Cyber Monday and Black Friday,” he added. “But as Prime Day has become a greater and greater force, especially in the U.S., we see that it's become this internet buy holiday where more retailers are partaking. And I think a result of that is that people have become more serious about purchasing on this occasion.”

Meanwhile, Target – which launched Deal Days on the same dates as Amazon Prime Day – saw conversion fall slightly to 5.5%, versus a conversion rate of 5.8% during Prime Day last year. The retailer was up against tough comparisons, however. Last year, Target’s one-day sale had driven the highest single day of traffic and sales of 2018, it said at the time.

Top searches

SimilarWeb also tracked the top search terms among Amazon.com shoppers on Prime Day this year. Both branded and non-branded items made the cut in the top-ten list.

The Nintendo Switch video game console claimed the top search spot during each day of Amazon’s day event this year, after being the second-most popular search term in 2018, SimilarWeb said. According to Amazon’s own press release, the Nintendo Switch was a best-selling device among shoppers in Mexico.

Searches for “apple watch” also appeared on the top-10 list during both days of Prime Day, along with queries for “ipad” (albeit without the explicit reference to the tech company).

Other top searches included “ring” – which could be a reference to the eponymous alarm system that Amazon had reported as a best-selling item during the sales event – and “ssd,” an apparent reference to searches for electronic memory devices.

Meanwhile, searches for “instant pot” cracked the top 10 list on the second day of Prime Day. Amazon reported that Instant Pot’s pressure cookers were popular items in the U.S. during both Prime Day 2018 and 2019.

Here were the top search terms during Prime Day this year on Amazon.com, according to SimilarWeb:

First day searches

  1. nintendo switch

  2. tv

  3. apple watch

  4. headphones

  5. laptop

  6. ssd

  7. ipad

  8. kindle

  9. ring

  10. monitor

Second day searches

  1. nintendo switch

  2. headphones

  3. laptop

  4. instant pot

  5. ipad

  6. tv

  7. apple watch

  8. ring

  9. monitor

  10. ssd

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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