Amazon Stretches Black Friday From One Day To Two-Month Long Event For Holiday 2021

It’s October, so it’s time to start holiday shopping, at least this year. With everyone from Vice President Harris on down warning of shortages for the most in-demand gifts, Amazon

is losing no time to remind shoppers they’d better get started shopping early. And of course, Amazon is the destination of choice.

Amazon is counting on Christmas coming early this year. It sorta tried last year when it moved Prime Day from July to October 13 and 14, hoping to kick off early holiday shopping, though it was only tangentially positioned around the coming holiday season.

But this year it is going full-tilt into the holiday gifting season early by stretching Black Friday from a single day – the Friday after Thanksgiving – to a two-month sales event.

The company just announced “Black Friday-worthy deals” will drop daily through October and November under its Epic Deals banner, available via the Prime mobile app or the home page. Deeply discounted Epic Deals will be offered in toys, seasonal fashions, home entertaining and decor, electronics, tools and pet products.

Beauty will get special attention in a new multi-week sales event called Holiday Beauty Haul that will run from October 4 through 25. It will feature discounts on indie as well as premium brands, including cosmetics, skin and hair care and beauty appliances.

Amazon is also expanding its gift guide selections to help the gift-challenged customer get ideas. Gift guides are available for toys, home, fashion, beauty, sports and outdoors and electronics selections.

Also added are a Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide to select gift items by price – under $10, under $25 and under $50. And if all else fails, Amazon offers a list of some 100 “Customers’ Most-Loved Gifts” across categories.

Given its early jump on Christmas, Amazon is offering a Holiday Prep Shop to help customers prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and other seasonal celebrations. It’s packed with seasonal decorations, food, cooking and baking supplies, fashions, music, movies and games.

Amazon is giving a leg up to its small business and third-party sellers too with a Small Business Gift Gift, a Launchpad Gift Guide for innovative products from startups and Handmade Gifts from artisans and makers.

Perhaps the most important news on the gifting front is now Amazon offers digital delivery of gift selections for Prime members from its mobile app. Gifters don’t need the recipient’s physical address, just their email or mobile number to send a virtual gift notification before physical delivery of the item.

Digital-gift delivery helps avoid the return backlash that inevitably follows the holiday season. It’s a feature that startups like SmartGift and GiftNow make available to their retail partners through a checkout add-on button. Many retailers recognize the value of these services with SmartGift boasting 1-800-Flowers

and Pandora jewelry as partners and GiftNow has signed on Target

, Uniqlo, Tapestry’s Coach and Kate Spade brands.

At least this coming holiday season, retailers working with SmartGift and GiftNow are ahead of Amazon in digital delivery. Their partners’ customers can make an actual exchange after they receive their digital gift notification. Amazon’s digital gift recipients will only have the choice to get an Amazon gift card instead.

And Amazon’s digital gifting will only be available via the mobile app, not for Prime members shopping from a computer. But surely Amazon’s programmers are working overtime to build that feature for all customers.

Getting a gift sent to an alternate address remains a hassle on Amazon. At least I found it so when I bought a wedding present recently. I ended up sending it my home and lugging it along to the wedding.

In normal years Amazon’s Prime Day is a big money maker for the company, generating some $7.2 billion in sales in pre-pandemic July 2019. When it moved Prime Day to October, sales jumped 69%, reaching $10.4 billion over two-days. And this year, when Prime Day went to June 21-22, it brought in even more, $11.2 billion, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates.

Now Amazon is setting up holiday 2021 to be another record-breaker, encouraging early shopping, extending Black Friday from a single day to two months, adding more gift lists and ideas and making gift delivery digitally instantaneous for Prime app shoppers.