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Amazon Prime Day 2019: everything you need to know about the 48-hour sale

The official Amazon Prime Day 2019 date is July 15 and it's going to last 48 hours, so you'll be able to save the entire day through the end of July 16.

In fact, we're already seeing early Amazon Prime Day deals, starting with a 4K TV that costs just $179.99 – it has HDR, the slick Fire TV interface and Alexa built-in. We saw it last week at an Amazon event in New York City.

Also on sale starting today are on-demand movie rentals, like Us and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, costing just $2.99 for Prime Members. Captain Marvel is $3.99, which is still an excellent savings when it normally costs $5.99 in HD.

Prime Day first launched four years ago and has grown into the biggest shopping day of the year with last year's even surpassing Cyber Monday and Black Friday with 89 million visitors logging on to the site with 100 million products purchased during the sale event. Globally it was the biggest day of sales in Amazon’s history, and Amazon Prime Day 2019 is going to be even bigger.

It didn't just increase in terms of territories or numbers, but the sale itself lasted longer too. Where 2017's Prime Day ran for only one day (well, 30 hours), 2018 ran for a day and a half (36 hours). And now we're looking at 48, so Prime members will have even more time to snag the hottest deals of the year.

Read on to learn what we can expect for this year's Prime Day and everything we've learned from the big sale last year.

When is Amazon Prime Day 2019?

We now know that Amazon Prime Day will kick off on Monday, July 15 and last until the very end of Tuesday, July 16.

The Prime Day start time usually corresponds to Pacific time year after year, given the fact that Amazon is based on Seattle, Washington. We've reached out to Amazon to confirm whether or not this will be true in 2019.

If you're a returning visitor, you may have known the date in advance. Thanks to some snooping from the Real Homes team, a PR email about a Prime Day vacuum cleaner seemed to suggest that Prime Day will begin on Monday, July 15. It wasn't officially official, but it turned out to be true.

Amazon Prime Day deals

Even though the Prime Day 2019 date hasn't quite arrived yet, that doesn't mean you can't find stellar deals now from the tech giant. We've scoured Amazon's site to find the best discounts that you can take advantage of today. We'll be updating this page regularly, so check back to shop the best deals up until the big shopping day.

Fitbit Alta HR $129.95 $75.13 at AmazonGet the Fitbit Alta HR on sale at Amazon for $75.13. That's a $55 price cut for the ultra-slim fitness tracker that continuously tracks your steps, heart rate, activities, and calories burned. View Deal

Apple iPad 32GB $329 $249 at AmazonGet the latest model iPad on sale for $249 at Amazon. This is the best price we've seen for the 9.7-inch tablet that features 32GB of storage and offers 10 hours of battery life.

View Deal

What were last year's best-selling Prime Day deals

Prime members around the world purchased more than 100 million products during the last Prime Day event. The top-selling items from last year's Prime Day included a mixture of home goods, electronics, and Amazon devices. In fact, it was the biggest event ever for Amazon devices with the Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot leading the pack of best-selling items worldwide. The top selling products consisted of the 6-Qt Instant Pot, Fire TV stick, Echo Dot, 23andMe DNA Test, and the LifeStraw personal water filter.

amazon prime day free trial

Image credit: Shutterstock

How can I sign up for Amazon Prime?

To participate in the big shopping event, you must be an Amazon Prime Member. Your membership will not only let you partake in Prime Day, but you'll also have access to Amazon Prime movies, books, music, photos, and more. You can sign up here for a 30-day trial and cancel at any time. All you need is an Amazon account with a valid credit card tied to the account. Once you sign up for your free trial, you'll have access to all the Prime benefits, receive free two-day shipping and partake in the biggest shopping event of the year.

What other retailers participate in Prime Day?

Every year more and more retailers are trying to compete with the tech giant by participating in their own version of Prime Day. You'll find discounts on clothing, tech, home goods and more from a variety of online and local retailers. Last year Walmart joined in on Prime Day by offering free two-day shipping without membership fees and free same-day pickup on qualifying items. They also discounted a wide array of products that included TVs, Google Home devices, kitchen appliances, laptops and much more. Other big retailers like Target, Best Buy, Macy's and eBay also promoted their own one-day sale with discounts on best-selling items throughout their site.

We expect this year that more retailers will participate in the July event and will even extend the one-day sale to a weeks worth of discounts.

amazon prime day delivery

Amazon Prime 1-day delivery

Amazon just recently announced plans to offer free one-day shipping for Prime members on most orders. Amazon's CFO Brian Olsavky revealed the ambitious project during Amazon's first-quarter earnings call. To achieve this, the tech giant says they plan to invest $800 million in the second quarter of 2019 and continue its expansion of their fulfillment and logistics network.

Amazon currently offers free 2-day shipping for all Prime members and offers free one-day and same-day delivery on certain items in eligible zip codes. Amazon's future plans include increasing the locations and available items so free one-day delivery replaces the standard two-day Prime delivery window.

While we don't think the new one-day delivery will be rolled out in time for Prime Day, we do believe there will be more items available for one-day and same-day delivery in eligible zip codes for the big shopping day.

Prime Day and Whole Foods

Last year Prime Day extended its sale from devices and electronics to discounts on groceries at the Whole Foods Market chain which the company also own. Savings included price cuts on popular food items and discounts for first time users of the grocery delivery service Prime Now. Amazon also offered $10 back in Amazon credits to use on Prime Day for members that spent $10 at Whole Foods. Amazon credit card users also received double the rewards when they used their card at Whole Foods during the week leading up to the big sale.

We expect this year to feature more discounts on groceries in-store as well as promotions with the Amazon Rewards Card and Prime Now.

How much money did Amazon make on Prime Day?

Amazon was predicted to gross $3.4 billion on Prime Day last year, although we don’t know if that prediction is accurate as Amazon doesn’t release such information. However, it did announce that third party sellers shifted a billion dollars of product in just one day. As for its own sales, Amazon was content to say that “sales this Prime Day surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, when comparing 36-hour periods, making this once again the biggest shopping event in Amazon history.” That’s a little sneaky, mind you: as the 2017 sale only ran for 24 hours, not 36.

The best Prime Day deals

As ever, some of the best deals on Prime Day were on Amazon’s own devices. Smart speakers are a big hit every year with the Amazon Echo leading the pack with the below price drops.

•  Echo Show dropped from $229.99 to $129.99•  Echo Spot from $129.99 to $99•  Echo Dot from $49.99 to $29.99•  Echo from $99.99 to $69.99  •  Echo Plus from $164.98 to $99

Kindles and Fire ranges also got deep discounts. You could find the Fire Stick drop to as low as $19.99 and the Fire 7 tablet priced at just $29.99. These massive discounts prove that it was worth the wait to grab these deals on Prime Day.

•  Fire Stick went from $39.99 to $19.99•  Fire TV Cube from $119.99 to $89.99•  Fire 7 went from $49.99 to $29.99•  Fire 10 from $149.99 to $99.99•  Fire 7 Kids from $99.99 to $69.99

There was also a big drop on the Amazon-owned Ring video doorbell pro too, which went from $249 to $174, and on the Echo Look camera: that went from $199.99 to $99.99.

There were good deals on TVs too. In the US, the excellent TCL TVs were massively discounted and better known brands such as Hisense were chopped too: for example Hisense’s 43-inch 4K TV dropped from $349.99 to $239.99. 

The best phone deal we spotted in the US was a big drop on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which went from $799 to a much more affordable $549.

amazon site down on prime day. Dogs of amazon

Image credit: Amazon

Why did Amazon crash on Prime Day? Did the crash cost it money?

Amazon struggled to cope with traffic on Prime Day, an issue that affected not just the Amazon site but services such as Prime Video and Twitch. Customers found their shopping carts would suddenly empty, or links simply wouldn’t work, or they couldn’t access the site at all. The issues were largely confined to the US website and customers, although problems with Prime Video lasted well into the evening in the UK.

Some sites got their calculators out and concluded that the worst outage, which lasted for 63 minutes, cost Jeff Bezos' company just under $100 million in lost sales. Amazon disagrees, saying that the effect on sales was “minimal”. Or maybe $100 million just isn't that much to the retail giant nowadays.

CNBC has seen internal documents that describe what happened. First, it didn’t secure enough servers to cope with the demand; secondly, that shortage caused a “cascading series of failures” that knocked out key services; and thirdly, Amazon temporarily killed all international traffic to reduce the load. All of those things happened within the first 15 minutes of Prime Day. 

The outage wasn’t the only issue Amazon faced during the sale though...

Why were workers striking and supporters urging Amazon boycotts on Prime Day?

Prime Day wasn’t the first time Amazon has been accused of terrible working practices, but it was a great day to get the issue into the papers. Workers in Spain and Germany went on strike over working hours and conditions while activists urged people to send Amazon a message by boycotting the sale altogether over its treatment of workers and its tax arrangements. It was also marked by a surge in health and safety complaints from UK workers. 

As you’d expect, Amazon denies the allegations, with a spokesperson telling us: "These allegations and the data are just not accurate — safety incidents in our fulfillment centers did not increase around Prime Day, they actually decreased from the previous week. We’re proud of our team and our workplace, and invite anyone to come see for themselves – we offer public tours of our buildings and you can learn more at amazonfctours.com."  

Amazon also told Wired that the Organise campaign behind the publicity was indulging in fake news. “To our knowledge, Organise doesn’t verify that respondents actually work for the company they claim to work for.”

Amazon delivery

Image credit: Amazon

What could Amazon have done better on Prime Day?

It should have anticipated and been able to cope with the load not just on its ecommerce site but on its cloud services too: we weren’t the only ones irritated because we couldn’t get our Preacher fix on Amazon Prime Video. It’s all the more embarrassing when you remember that Amazon provides the cloud infrastructure for many high-profile sites and services: Prime Day wasn’t a great ad for that side of its business.

Our main criticisms aren’t technological, though. Navigating the deals was hopeless and many of the deals were laughable, especially in gaming: we frequently found much better console bundles on AO.com’s eBay page than we did on Amazon. 

Here’s a great example. On Prime Day, one of the flagship deals we identified was $50 off a set of Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones. That brought the price down from $299 to $249. Just three weeks later, Amazon US was listing the same headphones for $169.

Will Amazon Prime Day 2019 do things differently?

Yes. CNBC reports that Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide retail, has already demanded improvements to prevent a repeat the previous Prime Day’s capacity problems: “tech teams are already working to improve our architecture”. 

We’d like to think that Amazon will also improve the navigation and discoverability of its deals, although we aren’t holding our collective breath: both factors’ general rubbishness didn’t stop it breaking all records. But that's why we're here to show you the best Prime Day deals!

amazon prime day warehouse staff

Image credit: Amazon

What does all this mean for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

It’s clear that Amazon is prioritising Prime Day over Super Black Friday Deals Month or whatever convoluted name it’s going to give its Black Friday sales period in 2019: according to Digitalcommerce360.com, 67% of this year's Prime Day deals were lower than comparable deals on the preceding Black Friday. 

That’s not to say Amazon won’t take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It will, and it’ll offer the same kind of discounting that we’ve seen in recent years. But Prime Day is more important to the firm, and we’d expect its discounts to be deeper, especially on its own devices.

Prime Day: why does it matter more to Amazon?

There are some crucial differences between Prime Day and Black Friday. The first is that the former is Amazon’s own day. It’s right there in the name, which of course refers to Amazon’s Prime membership programme and associated services. Amazon doesn’t own Black Friday, and that means ultimately it’s just another retailer shouting for attention – a massive retailer with a really loud voice, of course, but Black Friday is a sales event for the entire retail sector. It’s much harder for rivals to muscle in on something that Amazon has effectively created from thin air.

The second and more important difference is that Black Friday doesn’t create new spending. It just moves it slightly. As we’ve discovered in recent years, the money people spend over the Black Friday period is money they were probably going to spend anyway: all Black Friday really does is concentrates pre-Christmas shopping in the last week of November. 

Prime Day spending is different in two ways. First of all, people aren’t spending the money they’d already planned to spend on Christmas presents. And secondly, they’re buying mainly for themselves, not for others. If you go back to the list of bestsellers there’s an awful lot of impulse buying in there: Instant Pots and Hue Lightstrips, frying pans and dishwasher tablets. This is new spending, not merely moving pre-planned spending. 

There’s another key benefit for Amazon. Its best-sellers on Prime Day weren’t just Amazon devices; they were Amazon devices that connect to Amazon services. Fire TVs, Kindle Fires, Echo devices, Alexa remotes. Each one of them connecting to Amazon Prime, and each one of them requiring an Amazon membership to buy in the first place. So when Black Friday rolls around, Amazon will have a whole bunch of members for whom shopping there is the default option, and who might want to enhance their Amazon-powered smart homes with more of the company's branded Black Friday deals.

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