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Your super-quick guide to Amazon Prime Day

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

More than 100 million members are eligible for Prime Day on July 16. Amazon’s self-created holiday touting deals on everything from baby food to Alexa-enabled faucets, promises to be bigger and better — and more of a money grab — than ever before.

Starting at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT, Amazon is offering over 1 million deals to Prime members across 17 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, China, Australia and Singapore. The fourth annual Prime Day will last 36 hours, which is a steady increase from 30 hours last year and 24 hours in 2016 and 2015. In reality, it’s more like Prime week, as many “deals of the day” have already been trickling out, specifically electronics like Wi-Fi Light Switches and Bluetooth speakers.

The site will offer two kinds of deals — spotlight and lightning. The former are sales featured on the site for longer stretches of time. The latter are short-term flash deals that are only available one per customer. Amazon recommends signing up for lightning deal alerts on the Amazon app. The multi-functional Instant Pot is a perennial favorite for Prime Day. It usually sells for $130 but was discounted to $90 in 2017, and shoppers should expect a similar discount this year.

Amazon.com

Of course, the gimmick is another opportunity for Amazon to promote its own products. The e-commerce giant plans to feature twice as many deals on its devices like the Echo, Fire TV and Fire tablets. Last year, the top-selling product was the Echo Dot.

The lowest prices will be on Amazon-exclusive collections, which have stealthily been taking over the site. Furniture brands Rivet and Stone & Beam, home and kitchen label Solimo, and women’s activewear line Core 10 are among the in-house brands that are being sold at a discount.

Plus, this year, the e-commerce behemoth is integrating the brick-and-mortar world into the Prime experience. This is the first Prime Day since Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, which officially closed in August 2017. Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods starting Wednesday, July 11, through July 16, will get $10 of Amazon.com credit to use on Prime Day. On June 27 (just in time for Prime Day), Amazon rolled out discounts for Prime members at all Whole Foods locations across the country.

One-upping itself every year

The made-up holiday first debuted in July 2015 (to mark Amazon’s 20th anniversary) and has since grown to become the No. 1 day for the company in terms of sales. While the company doesn’t disclose exact numbers, we know that sales in 2017 grew by more than 60% from the year before. Coresight Research estimates the day generated $2.4 billion in sales last year, and predicts that the number will grow to $3.4 billion in 2018.

With an additional six hours for consumers around the world to be shopping, Prime Day is poised to smash its own personal record. However, some of the “discounts” are artificial, so shop discerningly — not impulsively. Last year, Yahoo Finance found that the price history of several items indicated that Amazon inflated prices right before Prime Day to make the deal seem sweeter.

Amazon.com

Even if you’re not an Amazon shopper, you can reap the benefits of Prime Day. Last year, eBay (EBAY) offered steep discounts, using the tagline “Their Prime Deal is Our Everyday Deal.” Walmart (WMT) discounted the Google Home device (not available on Amazon) by 25%. Department stores like Macy’s (M) offered customers an extra 25% off purchases for the week (and free shipping on Prime Day).

Since its inception in 2015, Amazon has been outdoing itself every year in terms of the actual length of the sales and therefore items for sale. It’s an ingenious way to get existing Prime members to search for deals, but more importantly, it gets non-Prime members curious about the offerings.

If you want to take advantage of Prime Day, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime, but Amazon’s hoping you forget to unsubscribe on August 16. In April, Amazon also upped the cost of a Prime membership, from $99 to $119. A May Yahoo Finance survey of 7,000 Prime members found that about half of the Prime member respondents planned to drop the service. Still, more new members signed up for the premium service on Prime Day than any other day in the company’s history, according to Amazon.

Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

Illo by: David Foster

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