Amazon unveils October dates for 66-hour Prime Day extravaganza that will put small businesses “front and centre”

Amazon-fulfillment-centre-Dandenong burnout

Amazon’s fulfillment centre in Dandenong, Victoria. Source: Revere Agency/AAP.

Amazon has unveiled the dates for its annual Prime Day discount event in Australia, confirming Aussies will be able to access deals for a record 66 hours between October 13 and 15, 2020.

The sales event offers discounts and ‘lightning deals’ on Amazon’s tech and subscription products, as well as on all manner of items from sellers on the platform, including participating small businesses on Amazon Marketplace.

The Aussie event will begin at 12am AEDT on Tuesday, October 13, and continue for 48 hours until 11.59pm AEDT on Wednesday, October 14.

But, Aussies will also be able to access Prime Day deals on the US store until 6pm AEDT on Thursday, 15 October.

That means the event will last a record 66 hours, an hour longer than in 2019, and 18 hours longer than the inaugural Aussie Prime Day in 2018.

According to country manager for Amazon in Australia Matt Furlong, this year’s event is intended to shine a light on Aussie small businesses, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis.

“We’re excited to offer Australian Prime members the chance to access fantastic savings across tens of thousands of products from international and Aussie brands across all categories,” he said in a statement.

“To help customers discover more local brands on, we are proud to put small Australian businesses front and centre through our ‘Shop Local’ store on Prime Day and beyond.”

The Shop Local store will feature products from Aussie small businesses, in a bid to connect shoppers with local brands.

A COVIDSafe Prime Day

October’s event will be the third Prime Day since Amazon launched in Australia in 2017, although the first two were held in mid-July.

This year’s event was delayed due to the pandemic, in a measure Amazon tells SmartCompany was intended to ensure the safety of workers while still meeting the needs of sellers and consumers.

Back in March, Amazon warehouse employees in the US went on strike, after several members of staff tested positive for COVID-19. The strikers were demanding better protective gear and hazard pay.

Ahead of a prospective busy period in Australia, Amazon tells SmartCompany safety is its top priority.

The business has spent $4 billion on new safety measures, globally, since the beginning of the year, an Amazon Blog claims, and implemented measures such as social distancing, staggered shift start times, additional break rooms and temperature checks.

The 2019 Prime Day sale was also somewhat marred by protests, amid allegation of mistreatment of workers in Amazon fulfilment centres around the world.

Money matters

Despite growth in the Australian market, Amazon still isn’t quite profitable Down Under.

But, the COVID-19 pandemic has since driven an uptick in e-commerce, as consumers get more comfortable with doing their shopping — and everything else — online.

Further, Amazon’s Australian operations reportedly almost doubled their revenues in 2019, raking in $562.1 million.

Less than half of that — $219.4 million — came from the retail sales, while revenues from third-party sellers totalled $55.4 million.

According to a report from Business Insider, last year’s Prime Day generated about US$2 million ($2.83 million) in revenue across the almost three-day event.

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