On May 6th, Amazon emailed sellers in Canada announcing that Amazon is pausing its plans for Prime Day 2021 due to concerns about the impact of COVID-19 in Canada. The email specifies that this disruption applies to Amazon Canada only and does not affect plans for Prime Day 2021 in the U.S.
Bloomberg reports that Amazon has also confirmed Prime Day plans will be paused for India as well, also due to surges in COVID-19.
Amazon’s announcement states that they are pausing Prime Day, “Based on the increasing impact of COVID-19 in Canada, and the importance we place on protecting the health and safety of our employees and customers, we will pause plans for Prime Day 2021 in Canada.”
India is currently experiencing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. On May 5, 2021, India reported a record high daily death toll, according to CNN. Needless to say, Indian consumers’ interest in shopping daily deals, as well as the logistic infrastructure needed to facilitate Prime Day, are questionable at best with far more pressing matters to attend to.
Amazon chose to use the word “pause” instead of “cancel,” leaving the door open for another delayed Prime Day. In 2020, Prime Day was delayed until August for India and until October for another 19 countries due to COVID-19. As such, it’s still entirely possible that Amazon could reschedule Prime Day for Canada.
Without seeing the wording of the notification about India, it is unclear if Amazon would postpone or wholly cancel Prime Day 2021 in India.
2020 was the first year that Amazon held Prime Day on different dates for different countries, although most countries participated on October 13-14. Prime Day 2020 far exceeded sales from previous years, despite (or more than likely, because of) COVID-19, reaching an estimated $10.4 billion in sales.
As such, if Amazon does have to reschedule Prime Day to vary by market, there’s little reason to think it will substantially harm their sales.
Amazon’s announcement has come early, but perhaps not early enough. FBA inventory for Prime Day was due by May 30th in India and by May 31st in Canada. Due to supply chain delays, some Amazon sellers may have already placed larger orders in order to have inventory arrive to Amazon by the end of May. Now that Prime Day is at least delayed, sellers may find themselves with too much inventory for current sales velocity, which ties up their cash flow and could put them at risk of storage fees.
That said, Amazon has limited seller warehouse space in Canada (and elsewhere) so drastically over the last 12 months that it may have actually saved sellers from sending in too much inventory. A small instance of silver linings, as it were.
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