Amazon is throwing big parties for Prime Day, and it shows how much its $119-a-year membership has evolved

  • Amazon is running a series of events around the world to showcase its Prime services in advance of its annual Prime Day.
  • These events include performances by Ariana Grande and deadmau5 that will market its music-streaming and gaming services.
  • The events showcase how much Amazon Prime's offerings have expanded in recent years. 

Prime Day has become one of the most important sales days of the year for Amazon — and this year, it wants to milk every last bit of it. 

A $119-a-year Prime membership includes more than just free shipping these days. To make customers aware of that fact, Amazon is running extra Prime Day promotions across its other Prime services, such as Prime Video, Prime Music, and Amazon Fresh. 

Businesses 'threatened' by Amazon, according to Trump
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Businesses 'threatened' by Amazon, according to Trump

Food delivery businesses

Blue Apron's disastrous IPO reveals how big of an impact Amazon's entrance in a new industry can have on competitors.

The company went public in June. When Amazon filed a trademark application for "prepared food kits" on July 6, Blue Apron's stock sank 11%.

Amazon's success has continued to plague Blue Apron. In January, the company's shares fell more than 6% after One Click Retail's 2017 Grocery Report showed that Amazon had made impressive gains in the US grocery market. 

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Shoe stores

As customers shop for shoes directly from Amazon, analysts say companies like Foot Locker and Finish Line are in danger. In August 2017, UBS analyst Michael Binetti downgraded both companies, saying it is "almost certain" that sneaker retailers will lose market share to Amazon.

"The disruption that has characterized the retail industry recently is not going away," Foot Locker's CEO Richard Johnson said in a call with investors in February. "Consumers want experiences, they want cool products, and they want it all — fast."

Foot Locker plans to close approximately 110 stores this year after closing 147 stores globally in 2017. 

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Grocery stores

Amazon bought Whole Foods in August 2017, which dealt a massive blow to US grocery stores as it forced its way into the brick-and-mortar market and threatened to drive prices down.

The retailer is already the largest seller of groceries online. It's estimated to have 18% of the US online grocery market, which is double the second-place share held by Walmart.

By having access to brick-and-mortar locations, the company is able to expand its reach across the US and use these stores as distribution centers for online orders. And, Amazon is building out its own brick-and-mortar concept, with the first Amazon Go store opening in Seattle in January. 

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Consumer staples

The future of batteries may be online — and that's bad news for companies like Energizer.

While online sales of batteries only make up roughly 5% of total battery sales today, UBS said in a note that it expects that figure to rise to 17% by 2025. With Amazon making up roughly 90% of online battery sales, often from its own private-label battery brand, this could create some major complications for Energizer. 

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Department stores

Macy's and other department stores, such as JCPenney, are facing off against Amazon — and coming up short, with hundreds of closures in recent years.

"Internet retailers (led by Amazon) have added $27.8 billion to their apparel revenue since 2005, while dept stores have lost $29.6 billion," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a 2016 note. "This share loss appears at risk of accelerating given 1) Amazon's bigger push into fashion, and 2) consumer willingness/acceptance to shop fashion through Amazon."

Launching the Prime Wardrobe service in June 2017 was "another nail into the department store coffin," Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow wrote in a note to clients. 

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Upscale retailers

Nordstrom is another traditional retailer getting hit hard by Amazon's online dominance.

"Amazon knows more about the consumer than they do," CNBC's Jim Cramer wrote after Nordstrom reported another disappointing quarter in May 2017. "They — the best out there — are still doing guesswork, with one brick-and-mortar hand tied behind their backs."

And in October, Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business who correctly predicted the company would buy Whole Foods, said Amazon could buy Nordstrom next. 

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Book stores

The Barnes & Noble versus Amazon battle has been going on for years. However, the discrepancy between the two has been especially grim recently.

Barnes & Noble reported in March that comparable sales decreased 5.8% in the most recent quarter. The biggest culprit: lower traffic, as fewer people visit stores.  

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Healthcare companies

Amazon's latest venture with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co, announced in January, threatens to have a big impact on the US healthcare market.

The announcement sent ripples through the healthcare market; the share price at CVS and Walgreens dropped 4.5% to 6% in premarket trading, and UnitedHealth dropped 6.2%, Reuters reported

Photo credit: Reuters


It's also offering discounts to Prime members who shop at Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired for more than $13 billion last year.

On top of this, Amazon announced it would be running a series of events around the world to showcase its extra services.

The events include a performance by Ariana Grande in New York, which is hosted by Prime Music, and a performance in Los Angeles by deadmau5, which is hosted by its gaming-streaming service, Twitch Prime. 

Grande will be joined by Kelsea Ballerini, Alessia Cara, and Julia Michaels at the Amazon Music Unboxing Event, will be streamed on Amazon and Twitch on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. 

Other events are taking place in London, Tokyo, and Milan over the weekend, in advance of Prime Day on Monday, July 16.

The intention here is likely to show the breadth of what Prime includes and to educate new customers about its benefits, hopefully encouraging them to fork out $119 for the annual membership. 

Prime started out as a membership service offering two-day shipping of products Amazon sold. It has since grown to offer several other services, including unlimited music and video streaming, free two-hour shipping in certain locations, and a try-before-you-buy clothing service, Prime Wardrobe.

In April, Jeff Bezos confirmed that there are now more than 100 million Prime members worldwide. According to Bezos, more Prime members signed up in 2017 than any year prior. The service is being rolled out to more locations, most recently to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

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