Online shoppers are gearing up for Amazon’s third annual Prime Day — a period of deep discounts on many Amazon items in mid-July. Since the company began Prime Day three years ago, it’s become the summertime answer to Black Friday.
But what’s all the fuss really about? In years past, there have been complaints that the site’s sale items aren’t all that exciting, with the hottest items selling out too quickly for many to take advantage of the deals.
Amazon hasn’t said much about what 2017’s Prime Day will look like, but to help you prepare, here are some things you need to know.
Q: When is Amazon Prime Day?
A: July 10-11
Prime Day kicks off at 9 p.m. EST on July 10, when the best deals will be posted online, and run for the next 30 hours.
New deals will be offered every five minutes, according to Amazon.
Q: Where can I find the best deals on Amazon Prime Day?
Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews, says that last year, Amazon Prime shoppers saved about 30% to 40% on electronics. Globally, people bought over 90,000 TVs, and in the U.S., people bought over 200,000 headphones during the 2016 Prime Day, according to an Amazon press release. However, Glaser cautions that TV deals tend to sell out fast.
Glaser is anticipating seeing $15 off of the Fire TV Stick, which is currently at $39.99. The Echo, priced at $179.99, dropped to $129.99 on Monday June 26 for the day — the best deal on it this year.
It’s also likely that there will be deals on electronics that tie into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, such as Philips Hue smart lights products — the starter kit is priced at $173.99 — and smart thermostats such as Nest, which is currently $246.85 (at the time of this writing).
Toys and more
Also, considering that 2 million toys and 1 million pairs of shoes were bought globally last Prime Day, it’s also likely there will be deals in those departments.
For example, among the best deals last year was $699 for the Segway miniPRO Smart Self Balancing Personal Transporter, which at the time was the lowest price for it on Amazon by $300, according to DealNews. The game Exploding Kittens: A Card Game was also on sale for $15, the lowest price on Amazon by $9 at the time.
Expect some products to have record low prices for Amazon.
“We have confirmed over the last two years that a lot of the prices rival the best prices we see on the site all year,” Glaser says.
Q: How long will deals last on Amazon Prime Day?
A: Amazon promises new deals every 5 minutes starting at 9 p.m. EST on July 10.
Some deals will expire in mere minutes, while others will last several hours, and some will last for the duration of the sale event. Each deal will have a timer that shows how long it is available.
Q: How do I know when an item goes on sale?
A: The Amazon App specifically includes a feature called “Watch a Deal” that will let you know when a deal you’re interested in is about to go live.
You also can join a waitlist (by selecting that button on the page) for deals that are 100% claimed.
Q: Do I need to be an Amazon Prime member?
A: You must be an Amazon Prime member to access the Prime Day deals. A Prime membership costs $99 a year or $10.99 per month and includes a number of other perks. Recently, Amazon announced a reduced price for Prime membership for low-income households.
“So, if that [$10.99] is less than what you think you’ll save on the stuff you want to buy [on Prime Day], then it’s a worthwhile investment,” Glaser says.
Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial, so if you haven’t had Prime before, you can use that to participate in Prime Day.
“This might be a good month to give Prime a test drive and see if you get good value out of it,” Glaser says.
Q: How will I know when they announce deals?
A: Glaser says Amazon will likely soon start releasing ads for some of the deals, so keep an eye out for them. Look particularly at Amazon products, electronics, small kitchen appliances, and shoes. Plan what you want to buy and set a shopping budget.
Since some deals will only be available for a certain time, you might want to set alerts for items. If you don’t already have an app that you use to track prices on Amazon, Glaser recommends the free apps CamelCamelCamel or If This Then That.
With all of the deals, it will be easy to buy things you weren’t planning on and don’t need. Glaser cautions against getting swept up in these deals and recommends sticking to your budget on Prime Day.
“If you see something that’s 95% off, you might spring to buy it and not really think about how much money you’re still spending, and whether it’s something you actually want,” Glaser says.