En español | If you're usually first in line to score the best deals in the wee hours of Black Friday each November, you'll want to make the most of Prime Day, Amazon's annual two-day June extravaganza.
First established in 2015, Prime Day — actually two days: June 21 and 22 — has continued to grow in popularity with bargain hunters. Figures from the research firm Digital Commerce 360 show the company sold $10.4 billion worth of goods for the 2020 “shopathon,” as well as $7.16 billion in 2019. The event has grown so large that other major retailers have already announced competing events. Make the most of Amazon's annual deal days with these tips.
Changes for 2021
You may have noticed that Amazon has been moving the dates for Prime Day in recent years. In 2020, it was postponed to October due to the pandemic; for years it had been in July. Why June in 2021? One reason may be to increase second-quarter sales to meet or beat last year's pandemic-driven surge in online sales, says Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, a company that offers coupons and shopping tips. Now that more people have been vaccinated, Amazon may be trying to get ahead of consumers who are heading back to shop in stores. In addition, Prime Day typically serves as a July kickoff to back-to-school sales. “But in June, Amazon will be able to promote a broader set of categories,” Skirboll points out.
This year, the event will run from midnight (Pacific Time) on Monday, June 21, through midnight (PT) on Tuesday June 22 — though some specials are available now. Look for special prices on fashion, home and beauty products, as well as sporting goods, pet supplies, electronics, and Amazon brands and Amazon devices. If you do want to get out of the house and shop in an actual store, you'll find deals at Amazon's brick-and-mortar retail locations, including Whole Foods Market, Amazon 4-Star, Amazon Books, Amazon Pop Up, Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh.
1. Look for early deals now
It may be easier, however, to check out the action from your laptop or smartphone via the Amazon app. First things first: Because Prime Day has traditionally been a benefit of Amazon's Prime membership subscription service, you'll need to sign up for one if you haven't already done so. The cost: $12.99 a month, or $119 for a full year. But you can also opt for a free 30-day trial membership and still take advantage of Prime Day deals.
You'll see early Prime Day deals and live product demonstrations at amazon.com/live. Alexa users can access more attractive prices as early as June 18 by simply saying, “Alexa, what are my deals?"
If you're thinking fashion, and want a good idea of what things look like before you buy, visit Amazon Fashion's Instagram and TikTok handles for previews of Prime Day deals from well-known clothing, shoes and accessories brands. Customers save $15 when they get $100 worth of items with their first Prime Wardrobe order.
2. Be choosy and smart
But don't get carried away. Skirboll says that it may be best to avoid four categories right now: gaming consoles, toys, Apple products and cameras. She urges consumers to hold off buying these items until Black Friday and closer to the holiday season.
"This Prime Day, we can safely assume that the best deals are really going to be on some Amazon-branded products,” she continues. “Think Amazon basics — Alexa, Echo, anything that the brand manufactures and produces themselves.” She notes that you'll also want to look for deals in smart home devices, TVs and laptops, small appliances, home decor, beauty and fashion. Try to get a coupon code or a cash-back offer.
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3. Consider the competition
Make sure to check out the deals at other retailers, too. Hundreds of them will be offering comparable or even better prices. Last year, RetailMeNot found that more than 350 stores offered deals on Prime Day, including Macy's, Kohl's and Best Buy.
Another bit of retail wisdom: “Pay attention to price trackers like CamelCamelCamel or Keepa,” Skriboll advises. They monitor Amazon deals throughout the year, as often as every hour. Download the extension from either one to your browser, and you will be notified of price changes as well as trends. You'll have a better idea if the Prime Day price is the lowest or not.
4. Support small businesses
Large retailers aside, you may want to show your support for smaller businesses, many of which were hit hard by the pandemic. You can do so with the Spend $10, Get $10 Prime Day promotion. Between June 7 and June 20, if you spend $10 on products sold by more than 300,000 small U.S. companies, you'll receive a $10 credit to use on Prime Day on almost any item at Amazon.com, including those offered by smaller sellers. Go to Amazon.com/SupportSmall to find listings of Black-owned, woman-owned and military family-owned businesses, as well as other companies. Once again, if you have an Alexa, you can say, “Alexa, shop small business,” to find the products that are eligible for the Spend $10, Get $10 promotion.
If you have an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card or an Amazon Prime store card, and a Prime membership, you'll be eligible to earn 10 percent back in rewards on select small-business purchases — and take advantage of additional specials. (What, no Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card?) If getting another credit card makes sense for you, sign up for an Amazon card in June, and you'll receive a $150 Amazon gift card instantly upon approval.
5. Help your favorite charity, too
Finally, do a good deed as you shop by visiting smile.amazon.com, where you'll find a list of charitable organizations. A portion of the eligible purchase price will go to the one you've chosen.
Patricia Amend has been a lifestyle writer and editor for 30 years. She was a staff writer at Inc. magazine, a reporter at the Fidelity Publishing Group and a senior editor at Published Image, a financial education company that was acquired by Standard & Poor’s.