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In One Chart: Amazon Prime Day in one chart: Americans stocked up on electronics, household essentials amid inflation

While some of the most hyped Amazon Prime Day deals were for consumer electronics like Apple AirPods AAPL, +0.90% and Alexa-enabled smart home devices, many Americans used the two-day sale to stock up on household essentials amid soaring inflation. 

Amazon AMZN, -1.27% reported Thursday that this year’s two-day online deals extravaganza was its biggest Prime Day event since the summer blowout launched in 2015. The online retail giant claimed that its Prime members worldwide bought more than 300 million items over 48 hours this year, saving more than $1.7 billion. And this included spending more than $3 billion on over 100 million small business items, Amazon said. 

The company also said that Prime members worldwide bought more than 100,000 items per minute during both days of deals, which kicked off at midnight PT on Tuesday (3 a.m. ET) and wrapped Wednesday night. In the U.S., shoppers bought more than 60,000 items per minute, with online ordering hitting its peak between 8-9 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 13. 

Check out Amazon Prime Day 2022 by the numbers in this MarketWatch chart.

The bestselling categories this year are notable. Amazon said it included consumer electronics, household essentials and home. And this aligns with what consumer insights and data company Numerator found in surveying Prime Day shoppers this year. The top categories that buyers told Numerator they purchased during the 2022 sales event included household essentials (39% of respondents), health and beauty products (28%), consumer electronics (27%), apparel and shoes (25%), as well as home and garden supplies (22%).

What’s more, household essentials cracked Amazon’s top five shopping categories in Numerator’s survey this year, which was unusual because the bestsellers tend to be Amazon’s own products, the analysts said, like its Alexa-enabled smart home devices. 

“Among the top five items sold, two are household or grocery products, and three are Amazon branded,” Numerator wrote on Wednesday afternoon. Frito-Lay variety packs and Dawn Powerwash Dish Soap joined the Amazon Fire TV Stick, fourth generation Echo Dot and Amazon Gift Card reloads in the top five products that clicked with shoppers surveyed by Numerator. “On Prime Day 2021, all top five items were Amazon branded, and the list did not include any household or grocery items,” Numerator added. 

Indeed, analysts had expected that Amazon’s Black Friday in July event would be a hit with shoppers seeking out discounts during record inflation, which could help explain why sales of home essentials were so strong.

And the latest consumer price index report, which found inflation hitting a 41-year high, hit smack dab in the middle of the two-day Amazon sales event this week.

Read more: Are we in a recession? 58% of Americans think so, poll says

Most of Numerator’s surveyed shoppers (83%) said that inflation was on their minds while scrolling through both days of Amazon’s bargains. One in three said they waited for the sale to purchase a specific item at a discounted price, and 28% passed on a good deal because it just wasn’t a necessity. 

And more than one in 10 (11%) Prime Day participants surveyed by Numerator said they used Prime Day to get started on holiday shopping, while 8% said they used Amazon’s summer sale to bag back-to-school supplies.

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That’s not to say that folks skipped loading their online shopping carts with bigger-ticket items, however. Amazon reported that some of the bestselling items included select Fire TVs, Echo and Blink devices, as well as the Apple Watch Series 7 and Beats by Dre headphones and earbuds. 

Shoppers also stocked up on summer essentials, buying more than 1.2 million pairs of sunglasses and more than 1 million swimsuits.

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