Past Its Prime
- Amazon’s annual Prime Day shopping holiday runs July 12-13
- The online retailer raked in $11.2 billion in sales last year, according to Digital Commerce 360
- Prime Day may be waning as a cultural and commercial force, mirroring slower growth for e-commerce generally
Amazon Prime Day is America’s biggest online shopping holiday, with sales on the e-commerce giant’s site alone surpassing all retailers’ Cyber Monday sales combined last year. But Amazon may have maxed out the event’s potential. Sales rose just 8 percent last year, compared with a 45 percent jump in 2020 and a 71 percent spike in 2019. While consumers snap up plenty of fashion deals, apparel can seem like an afterthought amid a sea of promotions for gadgets and appliances, many made by Amazon itself.
Amazon isn’t alone in struggling to get consumers hyped up for its shopping holiday. In the US, Black Friday’s importance to retailers has waned, and in China the 618 festival underwhelmed this year. This summer, consumers may be hesitant to splurge amid soaring inflation and a worsening economic outlook. They are also less keen on shopping online now that memories of the lockdowns are fading.
The Bottom Line: Prime Day’s discounts may jump-start a wider cycle of markdowns. Analysts are predicting that retailers from Target to Gap are likely to hold big sales of their own in the coming months as they look to move late-arriving inventory.
On the Comeback Trail
- Dior is releasing its capsule collaboration with Travis Scott on July 13
- The sneakers and apparel collection was postponed from January following the deaths of 10 people in a stampede at a Scott concert in November
- Scott has edged back into the public eye with a concert tour and a new collaboration with Nike
Until last November’s tragedy, when 10 concertgoers died in a stampede, Travis Scott was music’s king of merch. Sneakers, sweatshirts and even McDonald’s meals sporting his Cactus Jack branding had crossover appeal beyond his considerable fan base. The concert deaths brought all that to an abrupt halt, with Nike and Dior among the brands putting future collaborations on hold. Over the last few months Scott has mounted a meticulously plotted comeback, and fashion is playing a central role. In May, he released a new collaboration with Nike, originally slated for release last December.
Next up is Dior’s Cactus Jack capsule, which was originally planned for a January release as part of the label’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Dior has reason to be confident that Scott’s fans will turn out — at least, the subset who can afford $1,000-plus sneakers. TMZ reported that Nike’s raffle of Scott’s Air Trainer 1s received over 1 million entries, and the resale value of Cactus Jack Nikes never wavered in the wake of last fall’s tragedy.
The Bottom Line: Dior took a risk in postponing the Cactus Jack capsule release, rather than cancelling it in the aftermath of the tragedy. But that gamble looks set to pay off.
A Secret History
- “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons,” a three-part documentary about the lingerie brand, will premiere on Hulu on July 14
- Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer has said the series will contain new information about founder Leslie Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein, as well as the brand’s many controversies.
The rise and fall of Victoria’s Secret is a tale that has been told many times and in many forms. And yet, there is still a sense that the real story remains under wraps, tucked away in corporate archives or hidden by non-disclosure agreements. “Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons,” which premieres on Hulu this week, is the first of several projects that promise to unravel some of the mystery. The documentary reportedly contains new revelations about ties between Wexner and the disgraced financier Epstein. Like “White Hot,” the Abercrombie & Fitch documentary released earlier this year, it will also explore the cultural impact of Victoria’s Secret’s hypersexual branding, and how what was once seen as innovative came to feel both dated and toxic.
The Bottom Line: Victoria’s Secret, now an independent, publicly traded company, is attempting to shed its troubled image. As “Angels and Demons” is sure to demonstrate, the brand has its work cut out for it.
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