Amazon Prime is one of the best events for consumers in the last decade. It really brought online shopping to the masses and transformed the way we approach purchases.
Here’s everything you need to know about this new shopping holiday and what to expect from the 2nd annual Prime Day set to occur July 12th.
What Is Amazon Prime Day?
The very first Prime Day commemorated Amazon’s 20th anniversary on July 15, 2015. Some cynics believe that Amazon had ulterior motives in mind — to drive up Prime memberships, for example — but none of that really matters in the grand scheme.
What truly matters is whether or not Prime Day provides value for consumers like you and me. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, forget it.
In short, Prime Day is a one-day global online shopping event. All kinds of products and devices go on sale. Think of it like Black Friday (Black Friday tips) or a Steam Summer Sale (Steam Summer Sale Tips), except exclusively for Prime members (so sign up for Prime).
Taking advantage of Prime Day is extremely simple: just visit Amazon on the 12th and you’ll be bombarded with images and notifications letting you know that thousands of items are marked as deals. Shop as you normally would, no special steps required.
One thing to know is that Prime Day highlights two different types of sales: Deals of the Day, which last the whole day but offer “normal” discounts, and the red-hot Lightning Deals, with limited stock and availability.
So, is it worth it? To answer that question, we need to look at how successful (or not) last year’s event was. When in doubt, start with history.
How Last Year’s Prime Day Went
The very first Prime Day was intensely polarizing. Millions of people went into it expecting an actual analog to Black Friday, which wasn’t their fault because Amazon hyped it up as such, and were met with underwhelming options and disappointment.
IT IS WHAT I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED! pic.twitter.com/srcajDuHMD
— Bahroo (@AdmiralBahroo) July 15, 2015
- Demand outstripped supply, or in other words, the number of shoppers far outnumbered the availability of sales. This meant that those who were able to access Amazon all day long had a significant advantage over those who had to work, attend classes, etc.
- Quantity trumped quality. A lot of the items on sale simply weren’t worth buying: iPod cases, dishwater detergent, years-old DVD sets, seatbelt extenders, chef’s hats, etc. Is that really what you’d expect from a big sales event? Absolutely not.
- Website navigation was a pain. Amazon has never been accused of having a clean and efficient interface, but things were somehow worse during Prime Day. Navigating hundreds of pages one-by-one is never fun, but doubly so when everyone is rushing to find and snag great deals before they run out.
If you were to judge Prime Day’s success by social media alone, you’d come away with the opinion that it was a MASSIVE failure. Very few people walked away satisfied. In fact, most had experiences that were 100% negative. Not a good look for Amazon.
But that isn’t quite the full picture.
We later learned that Prime Day was a resounding success for the company. Only a day after everything had settled down, Amazon announced that it had sold more individual units than during its largest ever Black Friday event — averaging 398 items sold per second from start to finish.
Amazon Says Prime Day Was Huge Success And Vows To Repeat It Despite Customer Criticism
— ToyaZingale (@ToyaZingale) August 25, 2015
So even though there were plenty of folks who were unimpressed by it all, it appears that they were a vocal minority (as tends to be the case with social media). After all, the millions who were satisfied with Prime Day probably felt no need to say anything, thus we never heard their side.
And we aren’t just talking about toothbrushes and sandals. Prime Day actually had a number of spectacular products up for grabs if you were fast enough:
- Amazon Echo for $129 (28% off)
- Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet for $79 (43% off)
- Amazon Basic 6-Inch Kindle for $49 (38% off)
- Amazon Fire TV Stick for $24 (40% off)
- Samsung 50-Inch 4K Smart LED TV for $999 (22% off)
- iRobot Roomba 595 Pet Vacuum for $249 (34% off)
- Bose SoundTrue On-Ear Headphones for $79 (47% off)
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. All we’re trying to show is that Prime Day had some amazing stuff, especially that top-notch 4K LED TV! And as you can see, Amazon did put a lot of its own products on sale as well.
With that being said, let’s move ahead to explore what we know about this year’s Prime Day and discuss whether or not you should be excited for it.
What to Expect for Prime Day 2016
Considering how successful the first Prime Day was for Amazon, it only makes sense that they try again this year. Our only hope, and I’m sure plenty of people stand beside us in this hope, is that Amazon takes last year’s feedback to heart.
What do we know so far? Not much, but enough.
Prime Day 2016 will take place on July 12, which is basically 362 days after last year’s event. Also, the event spans continents. Countries eligible for Prime Day include the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and Austria. In addition, several Amazon will hold several preview events, in the weeks leading up to July 12th. Beginning July 5 until July 11, Amazon will hold weekly sales.
We also know that Amazon sent out notices to merchants inviting them to submit potential Lightning Deals for this year’s Prime Day. The invitation also stipulated certain criteria that must be met in order for items to be approved, including:
- A discount of 20% or greater.
- A price below the lowest price since Jan 1, 2016.
- A product rating of 3 stars or better.
Hopefully this results in a better selection of items and a better experience for shoppers.
The deadline for this invitation was back in May, yet Amazon still hasn’t provided any kind of information regarding what kinds of items we’ll see for sale. Are they sitting on it? Or are they still sorting through and deciding which Lightning Deals to implement? Again, we’ll have to wait and see.
So what does this all mean for you? Our recommendation is that if you’re planning on buying any of Amazon’s products, you may want to hold off until July. This includes but is not limited to:
- Amazon Kindle Oasis (or any other Kindle model)
- Amazon Kindle Fire
- Amazon Kindle Fire HD
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Amazon Tap
- All kinds of AmazonBasics products
Last year, Amazon ran discounts between 30% and 45% for most of their own products, and it seems reasonable to expect similar discounts (or even better) this time around. You can also expect categoric sales — such as for kitchenware, clothing, shoes, and jewelry — as we saw during last year’s Prime Day.
Just remember to get a Prime subscription because these deals will only be available to members. Free trial Prime subscriptions still exist. Though if you ask me, you should get one anyway because it will save you money in the long run.
How was Prime Day for you last year? Are you excited for this year’s second round? What are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments below!