Amazon Marks 20th Anniversary With “Prime Day,” Its Answer To Black Friday

Black Friday, the annual shopping extravaganza which brought in more than $1.5 billion in online sales alone last November, is arguably the single most important day for retailers in the U.S. Now Amazon wants to steal its thunder with Prime Day.

The e-commerce giant announced that it will mark its 20th anniversary on July 15 with deals for subscribers of its Prime shopping program in nine countries (the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria).

In a press release, Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, claims “Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday,” but the company did not specify if that means Amazon will offer more deals on July 15 than it did during Black Friday, if the value of the deals will be worth more, or if it hopes Prime Day eventually trumps Black Friday as each year’s main celebration of consumerism (TechCrunch has emailed Amazon for more information).

The latter proposition is not as outlandish as it might seem because of Amazon’s huge influence on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have included reducing prices on about 80 million products during the event and extending sales into the week leading up to Thanksgiving, putting more pressure on both online and brick-and-mortar competitors.

Amazon isn’t just launching Prime Day because it’s in a celebratory mood. Amazon Prime was instrumental in helping the company turn a profit of $214 million in 4Q2014, a quick and dramatic reversal from the larger-than-expected loss it reported in the previous quarter. This was due mainly to an increase in subscription charges for Prime.

After an initial pouring of discontent, the hike was accepted by most consumers, while Amazon has tacked on several new services, including the Dash Button and instant delivery. Prime Day may help convince more consumers to pay the $99 annual fee (or at least sign up for the one-month trial).