Amazon’s Prime Day-like event kicks off holiday sales frenzy amid high inflation

Oct 11 (Reuters) – Inc ( AMZN.O ) kicked off the holiday shopping season with its second major sales event of the year, as rivals from Walmart to Best Buy jumped in with discounts to woo customers struggling with Christmas with inflationary budgets.

The two-day “Prime Early Access Sale” shopping event for Amazon members, which begins Tuesday, is very similar to Prime Day’s summer marketing and will compete with early sales from rival retailers.

“Retailers will probably fight harder and earlier for possibly fewer dollars this year. The thinking is that the early bird gets the dollars,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of consulting firm Spieckerman Retail.

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Walmart Inc ( WMT.N ) is holding a “Rollbacks and More” sales event from Oct. 10 to 13 to counter Amazon’s sales days, with deals on everything from Hot Wheels toys to luggage.

Kohl’s Corp ( KSS.N ) and Best Buy Co Inc ( BBY.N ) 48-hour sales also take place on the same days as Amazon’s event, while Target Corp’s ( TGT.N ) “Deal Days” were from on October 6 to 8, avoiding a clash with Amazon.

“The middle- to higher-income consumer is likely to benefit most from current offers to get a jump on the holiday season … at the lower end of the income spectrum, these consumers may hold back and buy closer to need,” said Telsey Advisory Group analyst Joseph Feldman.

Inflation and early discounting are also expected to slow holiday spending for the year. Online holiday sales in the U.S. are expected to grow this year at the slowest pace since at least 2015, rising only 2.5 percent to $209.7 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. read more

The early start to the holiday shopping season, however, comes as no surprise.

Major retailers like Target and Walmart have been giving deep sales for months to get rid of excess inventory built up as consumers cut back on discretionary spending. Some of them even had competitive deals when Amazon held its Prime Day sales in July.

At the time, Amazon earned about $12 billion in sales, according to Adobe. read more

“This holiday season, retailers are resorting to blunt promotions to shoppers,” Spieckerman said.

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Additional reporting by Uday Sampath in Bangalore. Edited by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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