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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

In just four years, Amazon's invented Prime Day has become an event with as much clout as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, analysts report. And while this year got off to a rough start, the event, which ended at 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, was in many ways the biggest one yet.

Why it matters: Amazon uses the event not just to boost sales and reward existing customers, but also to sign up new Prime customers.

  • Prime customers are, like their name suggests, some of the company's most valuable ones. New Prime subscribers spent over $1,200 in the year after signing up, on average, compared to roughly $600 spent before having access to Prime, according to an estimate from Second Measure.
  • But there are signs membership is slowing down. Amazon Prime membership only grew 12% in the past 12 months, down from 35% growth during the previous 12 months, per Digital Commerce 360.

The highlights:

  • Bigger brands: The sales were bigger than last year — not only with Amazon brands — but with notable retail brands like Calvin Klein, P&G and Samsung, ranging from 20-50% off. This year's Prime deals were better than Black Friday last year, per analysis from bestblackfriday.com.
  • Anti-Prime days: Prime Day is also now big for others in e-commerce too. eBay rewarded shoppers if they purchased items over $119 — the price of a Prime membership — with $25 off a purchase. Other retailers that had sales included Google, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.
  • Andy Rubin's Essential used Prime Day to sell its smartphone for a deeply discounted $250. The company sold on the order of 30,000 phones with the device now on back order.

The lowlights:

  • Downtime: Amazon's website started suffering glitches and outages as soon as Prime Day started on Monday. That created headaches for customers and for the company, which scrambled to adjust limited time offers so customers had a chance to cash in on the deals they were looking for.
  • Lacking in gadgets: Unlike Black Friday, there were only a handful of TV deals, says Boomerang Commerce.
  • Food for thought: Whole Foods' items were not included in any Prime Day deals, but Amazon rewarded shoppers who visited Whole Foods stores during Prime Day with a $10 return in their Amazon account.

What's next: Look for Amazon to tout how this was the biggest and best Prime Day ever in an adjective-filled press release.

  • The company is famously short on details, so expect it to merely compare this year to previous ones.
  • Amazon announces its Q2 financial results July 26, which could provide additional insight — perhaps even an update on the number of Prime subscribers.

Go deeper

8 mins ago - Health

CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19

A patron eats lunch in March at Philippe The Original near downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The CDC acknowledged Friday that airborne spread of COVID-19 among people more than 6 feet apart "has been repeatedly documented."

Why it matters: This is "a change from the agency’s previous position that most infections were acquired through 'close contact, not airborne transmission,'" the N.Y. Times reports.

11 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.