Amazon Prime Day 2020: Everything you need to know about Amazon’s shopping extravaganza

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Amazon Prime Day 2020: Everything you need to know about Amazon’s shopping extravaganza

Prime Day, Amazon’s summer shopping event, is expected to return for a sixth year, but due to the pandemic it’ll likely be delayed. Rumor has it we could see Prime Day in August 2020 (or even as late as September 2020), but there’s nothing official yet. If 2020 is anything like last year, we’ll see deals for 48 hours on over a million products on Amazon sites around the world. Once Prime Day is officially announced, deal hunters should be able to track all the action via the company’s Prime Day landing page.

To the uninitiated, Prime Day often sounds like an overhyped “Black Friday in summer” sale, and the company did fall flat the first time with a crop of lackluster deals. The last several years, however, have featured a selection of genuinely good tech bargains.

In 2019, Amazon promised, and delivered, an even bigger sales blowout than previous years. More was the keyword: more Lightning Deals, more exclusive launches, more Alexa device discounts, more hours to shop. It was a good year for deals, and we’d expect 2020 to be just as good, if not better.

Read on for what you need to know about Prime Day and how to prepare.

Note: To take advantage of Prime Day sales, you must be a member of Amazon Prime. This service is Amazon’s $120-a-year club that offers free two-day shipping on orders, as well as a litany of frills like free premium video and music streaming, free online photo storage, a Kindle lending library, and various promotional offers. New Prime members get a free 30-day trial, which means you can sign up, get the Prime deals, and then dump the membership before the $120 fee kicks in.

Amazon Prime Day: A brief history

The first Prime Day wasn’t that great. Amazon introduced it in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary—and of course increase the number of Prime members. There were a few decent deals, but critics and shoppers largely agreed the day was a bust compared to the holidays.

amazon prime day 2016 infographic usa croppedAmazon

In 2016, the deals got better, but smart shoppers still had to do some legwork to separate the good buys from the bad. Prime Day 2016 was also hit with technical issues surrounding Amazon’s checkout system. There was stiff competition for Lightning Deals that year, with many of them selling out crazy fast.

(Lightning Deals generally offer some of the best sale prices on Amazon. They feature limited stock available at a low price for a short time, which makes the demand for them that much higher.)

For its third outing in 2017, Amazon promised Prime Day would offer better deals and higher inventories yet again, plus a focus on new items—the two previous Prime Days were heavy on open-box items. But for the tech-obsessed, the deals on devices, components, and gadgets weren’t as expansive as we’d hoped.

Amazon greatly expanded its offerings in 2018, adding new categories and promotions while giving tech enthusiasts plenty to throw their cash at. Not only was everything from cables to TVs discounted, but additional promotions like deeply discounted trials for various Amazon services and a ton of free PC games via Twitch Prime sweetened the pot.

Then in 2019 Amazon did it again, dramatically increasing the number of deals—as did the competition. It was no Black Friday, but it was a very nice mid-year event for bargain hunters. As with previous years, Amazon devices were a big part of the deals, but we also saw nice price cuts on phones and accessories, Bluetooth headsets, smartwatches, streaming devices, mechanical keyboards, mice, and gaming headsets. We spotted some nice buys for desktops, laptops, and Chromebooks, too.

Prime Day tips

Let us guide you to the best deals

If you want to avoid doing any legwork, we’ll be posting our own curated lists of the best deals on electronics and tech. Just check back here or the PCWorld homepage for the links. Easy-peasy.

Do your research

If you plan to strike out on your own, it pays to do your research. Like any retailer, Amazon mixes true deals with “sales” that are really just regular prices (or close to it) with a deal tag. To avoid that pitfall, look up historical prices before buying.

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