News You Might Have Missed: Week of July 20th, 2018

Prime Day is a Success Despite Glitches

The day after Prime Day, Amazon shared some initial figures all pointing at a great success for Amazon. Prime members worldwide purchased more than 100 million products during this year’s Prime Day event. Best-sellers worldwide were the Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot – making this, with 12-hour early access to deals, the biggest event ever for Amazon devices. Small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon far exceeded $1 billion in sales worldwide this Prime Day.

Global Highlights from Prime Day 2018

  • A record number of Prime members shopped across 17 countries.
  • Amazon welcomed more new Prime members on July 16 than any previous day in Amazon history.
  • Customers purchased millions of Fire TV devices on Amazon globally during Prime Day.
  • Prime Day was the biggest event ever for Echo devices with screens.
  • Customers purchased more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty Products, PCs and Computer Accessories, Apparel and Kitchen Products.
  • July 16 was the best day ever for Fire TV devices and Kindle e-readers on Amazon globally.
  • For the first time, members in Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg participated in Prime Day.
  • Millions of customers around the world streamed Unboxing Prime Day events including the Amazon Music concert with Ariana Grande as well as the PUBG Squad Showdown hosted by Twitch Prime with a performance by deadmau5.

Prime Day Best Sellers by Country
Customers’ most popular purchase this Prime Day was the Fire TV Stick, which was not only the best-selling Amazon device but also the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon globally. 

Via Amazon 

  • What is not mentioned in the release is the glitch that the Amazon site suffered throughout the first part of Prime Day when many customers could not access the site and would get error pages depicting cute pictures of dogs
  • To add insult to injury Amazon provided a statement on the day saying that many customers were being successful purchasing and that in the first hour of Prime Day more items were bought than in the previous year. I found this to be quite an arrogant response to the issues customers had for the most part of July 16 and one that seemed to be putting Amazon’s profits before customer satisfaction.
  • While overall sales have been phenomenal, I think Amazon is dismissing the impact that the experience might have on consumers for the next Prime Day. Potential buyers might not rush to it expecting the same level of issues or they might just not bother altogether. An apology about the issue and possibly a way to make up for the inconvenience like making those first deals available again at the end of Prime Day might have gone a long way to keep people happy.
  • Of course, Prime Day is not just about sales. It is also a big ad for Amazon Web Services which is possibly why Amazon wanted to play down the issue. What confidence would customers have, after all, if Amazon could not sustain its own web traffic in one of the most critical days of the year?
  • Talking about ads let’s look at some of the numbers shared by Amazon: best day for Echo devices and best day for Fire TV and Kindle E-readers. Not hard to predict when you looked at the deals available on
  • While you could find generous deals across tech (Chromebooks, Smartphones, Smart home products in particular) they were just a handful compared to the discounts made available across the Echo and Fire products.
  • And tech was not the only category within the “made by Amazon” list of products that were discounted. As Amazon gets more and more into home, pet, and fashion there were many offers on their own brands making Prime Day a powerful tool for discovery.

Corning Gorilla Glass 6

This week at an event in Sunnyvale, CA, Corning introduced their latest version of Gorilla Glass: Gorilla Glass 6. On average, in lab tests, Gorilla Glass 6 survived 15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces and is up to two times better than Gorilla Glass 5. Under the same test conditions, competitive glass compositions, such as soda lime and aluminosilicate, did not survive the first drop.

“Gorilla Glass 6 is an entirely new glass composition that can be chemically strengthened to give it significantly higher levels of compression than is possible with Gorilla Glass 5. This enables Gorilla Glass 6 to be more resistant to damage,” said Dr. Jaymin Amin, vice president of technology and product development, Corning Gorilla Glass and Corning Specialty Materials. “Moreover, with breaks during drops being a probabilistic event, the added compression helps increase, on average, the likelihood of survival through multiple drop events.”

Via Corning 

  • First, let me put some context on how critical Gorilla Glass technology is to the smartphone industry by saying that it has been used across 45 major phone brands in 6 billion devices.
  • Gorilla Glass 5, was introduced in 2016, became more resistant and durable for human-height drops of up to 1.6 meters. According to Corning, that made it almost four times more resistant than regular, unstrengthened glass. The problem, however, is not to survive a single drop but rather to prevent the glass from weakening by multiple drops and eventually fail.
  • During the presentation at their event, Corning mentioned that studies show that on average phone users drop their phones 7 times a year and 50% of the drops occur at one meter or below. I found the numbers to be quite a conservative, which is plausible if the Toluna survey Corning quoted was based on users’ recall.
  • One of the demos I witnessed at the event had a phone mock-up fitted with Gorilla Glass 6 dropped from about a meter high on a sandpaper surface for the 16th time. The glass survived the drop. The new glass composition, as it was explained, minimizes the chances of the glass shattering after a series of falls.
  • What was interesting was that Gorilla Glass 6 does not improve on scratchability which remains the same as with Gorilla Glass 5.
  • While Gorilla Glass 6 seems impressive, I was more interested to learn about a new technology Corning developed that would allow vendors to make their future phones much more exciting. Corning developed a special inject printer that can give the glass a matte finish instead of a shiny one. This process would make fingerprints much less noticeable on the back of a phone. If you have any of the new phones such as the Galaxy S9 or the iPhone in Black you know exactly what I am talking about.
  • Furthermore, Corning has the ability to provide different texture finish to the glass mimicking materials such as wood, snakeskin and even Legos. While some PC vendors have experimented with this capability in the PC space we have yet to see any phone manufacturers venture into it. As much as I got excited about a red marble option I saw, I understand the vendors would take a considerable risk in choosing something that bold for their flagship product.
  • Some phone manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola have attempted to create a service to enable buyers to customize their phones but finding the right price point has proven difficult. I also feel that with the smartphone lifecycle lengthening customizing a cover might seem like a safer bet to make.
  • Never the less, as glass continues to prove as the best material for radios and sensors as well as wear and tear, I hope to see more creativity in future designs.
  • As far as Gorilla Glass 6 hitting the market, we should not have to wait more than a few months to see the first wins hit the market.

Published by

Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

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