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Amazon Prime Day 2019 breaks records yet again

The sale was marred by protests, but proved a big success for the e-commerce giant.

Angela Lang/CNET

In its fifth year, Amazon's Prime Day kept up its record of breaking records.

The 48-hour sale this week was the "largest shopping event in Amazon history" and "surpassed the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined," the company said Wednesday. Amazon didn't disclose specific total sales figures. Additionally, Monday brought in more new Prime members than any previous day, and Tuesday brought in nearly as many, making them the two biggest days ever for member signups.

Prime members bought more than 175 million items during the Prime Day stretch. Amazon also benefited from its regular promotion of its own devices, with "the biggest event ever" for these gadgets, when comparing two-day periods. Some of the biggest sellers worldwide were Amazon's Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

Prime Day has attracted great attention worldwide, after starting as a much smaller sale in 2015. Now hundreds of other retailers join in the summer sale, and consumers tend to delay their purchasing in anticipation of Prime Day. 

Meanwhile, activists and unions this year used the occasion to stage protests and highlight their concerns about the world's biggest online store, from working conditions in warehouses to climate issues to Amazon's ties to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Now playing: Watch this: Amazon Prime Day 2019: Everything to know

The protests weren't the only issues to mar Prime Day over the years. While this year's event worked out smoothly, glitches to Amazon's site and mobile app have previously hampered the sale. Last year's event had a botched opening that served customers error pages instead of deals. Despite those problems, last year's Prime Day also broke sales records.

Because Amazon is still growing, this latest Prime Day sales record isn't expected to hold for long, with Cyber Monday in November typically becoming Amazon's biggest sales day each year. Unlike Prime Day, deals on that day are available to all shoppers, not just Prime members.

As it usually does for big sales days, Amazon offered up a bunch of big statements about Prime Day -- for instance, that a record number of  Prime members shopped on Prime Day in the US this year. Some of the biggest sellers in the country were the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Instant Pot DUO60 and 23andMe Health + Ancestry kits.

In the United Arab Emirates, a new addition to Prime Day, some best-sellers included Al Ain Bottled Water, Ariel Laundry Detergent and Fine Towel Tissue Roll.