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Amazon says its Prime Day promotion will run from June 21-22

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Amazon is bringing back its annual Prime Day as a mid-year event, aiming to juice sales during the typically slower summer period for retailers. The change comes after the ecommerce giant in 2020 postponed the two-day event until October due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Day will kick off June 21 at midnight Pacific time (3 a.m. Eastern) and run through June 22, the company said Wednesday in a statement. Since debuting in 2015, Prime Day has generally taken place in mid-July, which means Amazon is holding the event earlier this year after last year's delay.

While the pandemic shuttered many brick-and-mortar retailers, Amazon enjoyed a surge in sales last year as consumers switched to online shopping to avoid leaving their homes or because local shops were closed. But the company has also come under increasing scrutiny for everything from its treatment of warehouse workers and delivery drivers to concerns from lawmakers over Amazon's growing size and dominance over smaller businesses. 

Amazon's sales jumped 34% last year to more than $215 billion. This year, the retailer said it will aid small businesses that sell through its website by spending more than $100 million on promotional Prime Day events to support them. As part of that promotion, Amazon said it will offer a $10 credit to use on Prime Day to members who spend at least $10 with some small businesses that sell through Amazon from June 7 through June 20.

Critics say Amazon's online dominance hurts local businesses, which generally can't compete on price with the larger retailer. For Amazon, Prime Day is an opportunity to attract consumers for its $119-per-year Prime service, with only members being allowed to take part in the sale. 

The company said it has more than 200 million Prime customers, or more than double its membership when Prime Day launched six years ago. 

Here are a few things to know about Prime Day 2021:

  • Amazon said its Prime Day event will offer discounts on 2 million products across the two-day sale. 
  • As always, some of the best deals will be offered on Amazon's own products, such as 50% off four months of Audible and discounts on Fire TVs. 
  • Amazon said it will give Prime members a $10 promotional credit if they buy $40 or more in select Prime-branded Amazon Gift Cards from June 2 through June 20. 
  • Unlike in the U.S., Amazon said Prime Day will be postponed in Canada and India "due to the increasing impact of COVID-19" in those countries. 
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