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Amazon Prime Day is the online retailer's biggest shopping event of the year. The small and mid-sized businesses who sell on the e-tailer reported more than $3.5 billion in sales during Prime Day 2020. That marked a 60% increase compared with 2019.
Spread out over two days, Prime Day features limited-time, limited-quantity deals (called lightning deals) on a wide variety of clothing, bedding, laptops, headphones, Amazon-branded gear and more. The 2021 Prime Day will be the earliest on record; the event last happened in October 2020 -- the latest Prime Day on record.
The online shopping event has grown considerably sincein 2015. Research firm Digital Commerce 360 has estimated that Amazon sold $10.4 billion worth of goods overall on Prime Day 2020. That would mark an increase of 45.2 percent from $7.16 billion in 2019.
Nowadays, Prime Day is not just an Amazon phenomenon -- other retailers, such as Walmart and Target, offer their own online deals on Prime Day, eager to compete during this shopping mega-event.
When is Amazon Prime Day?
Amazon Prime Day typically falls on a different day every year. The company has announced thaton Monday June 21 and Tuesday June 22, 2021.
What do you need to take part in Amazon Prime Day?
Amazon Prime Day deals are, generally, exclusive to Amazon Prime members. Those who have never been Amazon Prime members can get a 30-day free trial right now, an offer that will last through Amazon Prime Day 2021.
An Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99 per month (plus taxes), or $119 per year. It includes much more than access to Prime Day deals: You get free, two-day shipping on most Amazon products (and free same-day delivery in some areas), access to TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video, plus special deals at Whole Food Market and more.
You can see a full list of Amazon Prime benefits by clicking here. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime by clicking the button below.
By the way: If you're not an Amazon Prime member, it's still possible to take advantage of some Prime Day deals. Big-box retailers such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Kohl's have seized on Prime Day to offer their own Amazon Prime Day deals in-store and on their websites, no memberships required. Expect announcements about those sales closer to June 21.
What goes on sale during Amazon Prime Day?
There's no easy answer to the question, "what goes on sale during Amazon Prime Day?" Except, perhaps, for this: A lot. A lot of stuff goes on sale for Amazon Prime Day.
Amazon keeps its full list of Prime Day deals under wraps until they go live. That said, many items go on sale consistently from Prime Day to Prime Day. Amazon, for example, will likely offer discounts on its Alexa-based smart home products, such as the Echo Dot (the No. 1 Prime Day seller in 2020, per Amazon) and the Echo Show.
Expect other Amazon-branded products to go on sale too, such as the Amazon Fire TV Recast, a DVR with tuners for over-the-air local TV channels. It's normally priced at $230, but was marked down to $130 during the last Prime Day event in 2020.
It's not just Amazon-branded products that regularly go on sale. In past years, shoppers have found great deals on the Instant Pot multi-cooker, apparel from Adidas, vacuums from Dyson and iRobot, Keurig coffee makers and much more.
Discounts on the Apple Watch -- and other Apple products such as AirPods Pro and MacBooks -- are common during Prime Day as well. For example, the Apple Watch 3, an older-but-still-useful version, was marked down to $169 for Prime Day 2020. (You can't get that deal right now at Amazon -- not until Prime Day 2021, perhaps? -- but the Apple Watch 3 is available for $169 right now at Walmart.)
And while historically, the best deals on new televisions have emerged on Black Friday and during Superbowl season, nowadays you can find great TV deals on Prime Day -- especially on smaller televisions and Fire TV Edition smart TVs. During Prime Day 2020, Amazon offered shoppers this 43-inch Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TV with 4K resolution for $210, marked down from $290.
One of the best recurring Prime Day deals, however, comes from Amazon-owned Whole Foods. Prime Members who shop at Whole Foods in the days leading up to Prime Day have received, in the past few years, a $10 credit toward Prime Day purchases. Amazon hasn't announced this deal will return in 2021, but don't be surprised if it appears again.
How should you prepare for Amazon Prime Day?
It can be tricky to plan for Amazon Prime Day; the deals vary from year to year. But there are a few things to keep in mind while looking for the best Amazon Prime Day deals.
For starters: The best discounts usually apply to Amazon's own products. It's a good idea to put off any purchases of Amazon devices in the month before Prime Day -- they're the most likely products of to go on deep discount.
Prime Day is also a smart time to shop for everyday housewares, such as electric toothbrushes and small kitchen appliances. These products are typically featured sales items. We've seen great deals on coffee (such as K-cups), charging cables and other common essentials as well -- including prices that stand out as some of the best of the year.
But not every Prime Day deal will be a good one. To know for sure, try CamelCamelCamel -- it's a free Amazon price tracker. Just paste an Amazon URL in the site's search bar and you can see every the year-over-year price history for any Amazon item.