One of the biggest shopping events of the year is Amazon Prime Day, a day-long (or longer) extravaganza of exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members. During this sales-fest, the world’s biggest retailer slashes prices on a wide variety of items – some of them by as much as 50%.
However, while there are great deals to be found on Amazon during this super-sale, that doesn’t mean every product on the site is a bargain. Some discounts are bigger than others, and some are only available for a limited time. Here’s how you can get the most for your money with minimal hassle this Prime Day.
What Is Prime Day?
Amazon introduced Prime Day in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Amazon Prime service. It billed the day as a “Christmas in July” event, with special deals for Amazon Prime members to rival the biggest Black Friday sales. According to CNN, that one-day event generated $900 million in sales for Amazon.
The first Prime Day was such a success that Amazon has continued to hold the event every year since, offering more and bigger deals each year. In 2016, Prime Day eclipsed Cyber Monday as the single biggest online sales day of the year, according to Rakuten Intelligence. In 2017, Amazon expanded Prime Day to more than one day, stretching it out to 30 hours. CNN says the sales event attracted attention around the world and a record number of sign-ups for the free trial of Amazon Prime.
By 2018, Prime Day had grown to 36 hours, making it more of a Prime Day-and-a-Half. The company shipped more than 100 million products during the event, and CNN estimates that shoppers spent a total of $3.4 billion.
The exact date of Prime Day isn’t fixed, but it generally takes place in the second or third week of July. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon is pushing back the date of Prime Day 2020. An exact date has not yet been released, but it’s likely to take place around August or September 2020, according to sources like The Wall Street Journal.
What’s On Sale
The lineup for Amazon Prime Day 2020 has not yet been released. However, here’s a look at what was on offer for Prime Day 2019 to give you an idea of what you might expect to see this year.
- Deals Under $25
- Lightning Deals
- Amazon Devices
- Top Trending Deals
- Items With 4 Stars and Up
- Home and Kitchen
- Tools and Home Improvement
- Health and Personal Care
- Smart Home
- Video Games
Some of the best deals included:
- The Amazon Echo 2nd Generation for $50 (regular price: $100) and the Echo Dot for $22 (regular price: $50)
- The Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet for $100 (regular price: $150) and the Fire HD 8 for $50 (regular price: $80)
- The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote for $15 (regular price: $40) and the Fire TV Cube for $70 (regular price: $120)
- The Instant Pot DUO60, a six-quart combination slow cooker and pressure cooker, for $50 (regular price: $100)
- 23andMe DNA Testing Kit for $100 (regular price: $200)
Keep in mind that prices and deals on Amazon can change at any time. If you’re considering a deal, it’s best to purchase it when you come across it because it might not be available later.
Tips to Maximize Amazon Prime Day
The key to getting the best deals on Prime Day is to be prepared. You need to have all the pieces in place so you’re ready to shop strategically during this two-day event. Here are some steps to take to make sure you get all the best Prime Day deals.
1. Sign Up for Amazon Prime
Since Prime Day deals are only for Amazon Prime members, you’ll need to sign up for Prime membership if you don’t already have it. Besides getting you access to Prime Day deals, your membership will provide an array of other perks, including:
- Streaming access to thousands of movies and TV shows from Prime Video
- Unlimited music streaming from Amazon Music
- All-you-can-read e-books from Kindle Unlimited
- Unlimited photo storage
- Free two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases
However, if you don’t care about these other benefits, it isn’t necessarily worth signing up for Amazon Prime just to get in on the Prime Day action. It depends on what you intend to buy and how big the discount on it is. If you’ve been planning to buy an Echo smart speaker, then paying $13 for a month of Amazon Prime to get $30 off on the speaker will put you ahead by $17. But if all you want is a couple of books that are $2 off apiece, your membership won’t even pay for itself.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll get your money’s worth out of a Prime membership, there’s a loophole you can exploit: Amazon’s 30-day free trial for new Prime members. If you sign up today during Prime Day, you can take advantage of all the sales and continue to use Prime for the rest of the month. Then, if you decide the benefits of Prime aren’t worth the cost, you can cancel your membership and pay nothing.
However, this trick only works if you’ve never had a Prime membership before. If you use to have Amazon Prime and then canceled it, or if you’ve already done the free trial once, you can’t sign up for it again.
2. Get the Amazon Mobile App
Many of the hottest Prime Day bargains are Lightning Deals, which are available only for a few hours and are usually limited to one per customer. To make sure you catch these big discounts before they’re gone, sign up for the free Amazon mobile app on Google Play or Apple’s App Store. It includes a feature called “Watch This Deal,” which sends you a notification when an item you’re watching goes on sale. That way, when a Lightning Deal strikes, you can jump on it immediately, no matter where you are at the time.
The Amazon app can also help you plan out your Prime Day shopping spree. It offers “sneak peeks” at upcoming deals, including Prime Day sales, so you can prepare your shopping list in advance. The app also makes it easier to search the site for items you want and add those items to an online shopping list so you won’t forget anything. And once your purchases are shipped, the app helps you track the packages.
3. Make a Shopping List
Speaking of shopping lists, it’s a good idea to make one before you start your Prime Day shopping. One risk of a major sales event like this is that it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and start sweeping everything you see into your virtual cart. If you save $100 on a Roomba but also purchase $500 worth of clothes, toys, and vitamins you don’t really need, those impulse buys will more than wipe out your savings.
To avoid this problem, decide in advance what you want to shop for on Prime Day. Use the Amazon app to help you scope out the best deals and make a list, and then focus your deal-hunting efforts on those particular items.
4. Visit Whole Foods
If you get a chance, swing by a Whole Foods store. Amazon owns this grocery chain, and in 2018, it took advantage of the connection to offer crossover promotions in Whole Foods stores.
In 2019, shoppers who spent at least $10 at participating Whole Foods stores from July 3 to July 16 received a $10 credit they could use on Amazon purchases from July 15 through July 17.
5. Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards
You can get even more for your money on Prime Day by shopping with a cash back credit card. For this particular event, the card that will give you the biggest benefit is the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card. It gives you an unlimited 3% cash back on everything you buy at Amazon and Whole Foods, as well as 1% to 2% on other purchases, all with no annual fee. So if you load up your digital cart with $400 worth of deals on Prime Day, you’ll pocket $12 in cash back.
If you happen to be in the market for a new credit card, this could be a good occasion to sign up for one of these top credit cards to use on Prime Day. Not only will you get cash back on all your Prime Day buys, but you could also use your Prime Day spending to help you qualify for a sign-up bonus. For example, the Capital One Quicksilver card offers a $150 bonus if you spend $500 on the card in your first three months – and putting all your Prime Day purchases on the card will make that target much easier to hit.
6. Choose Your Shopping Method
There are several ways to shop on Prime Day. You can visit Amazon on your PC or laptop or shop on the go with the Amazon app. If you happen to have a device that uses Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant – such as a Fire tablet or an Echo speaker – you can streamline your shopping process by asking Alexa to help you find Prime Day deals. There are even some special deals that are available for voice purchase only.
You can also choose to donate a portion of your Prime Day purchases to charity at no cost to you. The AmazonSmile program makes this easy to do. Just log into your Amazon account through smile.amazon.com instead of the main Amazon site and select your favorite charity. Then, whenever you buy a product that’s marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation,” Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of the purchase price to your charity of choice.
Amazon isn’t the only site holding sales on Prime Day. Many major retailers have been holding summertime sales for years, but they used to be spread out across the summer months. Since Prime Day started in 2015, competing stores have started scheduling their sales to fall around the same time.
This slew of competing sales, which now includes dozens of retailers, is sometimes called “Black Friday in July.” You can find appliances, electronics, and everyday home goods at great prices at lots of different stores. Some stores could even offer to match the prices you find on Amazon during the week of Prime Day.
So if you’re in the market for an expensive item, such as a TV or home computer, don’t limit your shopping to Amazon. Do a quick search of other retail sites first to see if one of them can offer a better price or a better model for the same price. A browser extension that compares prices across multiple sites makes it easy to check for a better deal before you buy at Amazon.
And if you miss out on a Lightning Deal at Amazon, don’t assume you’ve lost your only chance. Search other retail sites, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a similar deal somewhere before Black Friday in July comes to an end.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever scored on Amazon Prime Day?