What to expect from Amazon Prime Day sales

A few of these will be shipping next week.
A few of these will be shipping next week.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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Amazon’s fourth-annual consumerist bacchanal is set to take place July 16 and 17, with countless deals available to members of the company’s Prime subscription service in 17 countries.

As in pervious years, there will be a few good deals mixed into the fray, and for the first time, Whole Foods will be participating in the sales.

Here’s how to approach Prime Day 2018, based on earlier years and what Amazon has announced so far:

Prime day is longer than one day

It actually starts at 3pm ET on July 16, running through the end of July 17.

Now is the time to buy an Amazon device

One things that’s almost guaranteed is that Amazon will push its own devices on Prime Day. It did so last year, and it’s already announced a pre-Prime Day discount of $100 on the Echo Show, its first Echo product with a screen, and hinted it will do so with much of the rest of its device lineup this year.

Last year, you could pick up a Fire tablet for as little as $30. Expect more steep discounts on all the tablets, Kindles, streaming products, speakers, and devices Amazon produces.

Most of the deals won’t be that great

Amazon said it plans to put over 1 million products on sale over the course of Prime Day, the most it’s ever released. The vast majority of them, however, will be things you probably don’t want or need at any price. A few products Amazon previewed in its press release last week weren’t exactly door-busters:

  • Delta Trinsic Touch2O voice-activated faucet, “the first Alexa-enabled kitchen faucet”
  • Coleman RoadTrip LXE portable propane grill
  • A Fingerlings light-up Unicorn Mackenzie toy
  • Bai “Braspberry” tea, inspired by Justin Timberlake
  • The Motorola Moto G6 64 GB smartphone

Two years ago, review site Wirecutter found only 64 worthwhile deals out of the 8,000 products it researched on Prime Day. Paste Amazon product page URLs into the price-tracking site CamelCamelCamel to see if the Prime Day deal you’re after is actually that big of a discount.

But there will be a few good deals

Last year, Amazon put a bunch of TVs on sale, and it’s entirely likely it’ll do the same this year. It’s also already committed to discounting much of the content it sells, including 50% off TV shows and movies, 20% off its AmazonBasics line, and discounts on the other brands it not-so-secretly runs. There will also be a discount available for its Amazon Music streaming service—new users can get four months at $1 per month—and free streams on Twitch, the live-video service it purchased in 2014.

True loyalists will get the most out of Prime Day

For Prime members who also have an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature credit card, the discounts on Prime Day will be even greater. Cardholders usually receive 5% cash back on purchases made at Whole Foods, but that doubles to 10% while Prime Day (up to $400) is on. Cash back on will remain at 5%. Whole Foods will have its own deals during Prime Day, too.

Download Amazon’s app

Amazon’s mobile app has a function that lets customers track “Lightning” deals—the short-lived sales on popular items over the course of Prime Day—as they happen. Not every deal goes live at the same time on Prime Day, so if there’s something Amazon has previewed that you have your eye on, make sure to use the app to get notified when it’s ready for purchase. The app is also a little easier to browse through than the rabbit’s warren that is Amazon’s desktop website.

Seek help

Sorting through everything on sale on Prime Day can be overwhelming. Wirecutter has a deals page just for this year’s Prime Day that it’ll continually update between 3pm on July 16 and the end of July 17 with all the best deals it finds.

Shop around

Remember, even though something may seem like a steep discount, check to see if it actually is before you buy. As MarketWatch reminds us, many other sites will be offering their own deals to counter Amazon, so check their prices on bigger-ticket items before committing. And CamelCamelCamel will be a good resource to see whether prices are likely to drop further (say, on Black Friday) or if prices were artificially raised right before Prime Day.