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Eyes on the prize, because Amazon Prime Day 2020 is Oct. 13 and 14.
Amazon recently confirmed that there will be a Prime Day this year, after repeatedly delaying its biggest shopping holiday from its usual drop date in mid-July. Like last year, Prime Day will run for 48 hours.
Prime Day 2020 will feature deals, discounts and flash sales on lots of items from big-screen TVs to fancy vacuums. There will also be “Lightning Deals,” which are live only for a limited time. The sale is exclusive to Prime members — so if you’re aren’t one, now’s your chance to sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial.
Though there are some early Prime Day deals that might be worth browsing (like this Fire TV-enabled Toshiba 43-inch Smart HD TV, which was originally $280 and is now $180), not everything marked down on Prime Day is genuinely worth it.
That’s especially true this year, when Prime Day and Black Friday are only 44 days apart.
This holiday season, you will likely see more deals for a longer period of time. Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, two-thirds of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount of money or more this holiday season “in order to create a sense of normalcy and keep traditions alive,” according to the retail experts at RetailMeNot.
You’ll also see major retailers promoting their best seasonal deals earlier in the year to incentivize early shopping and guaranteed on-time holiday delivery. With more people shopping online now than ever before, retailers agree it’s better to be safe and shop early. That same RetailMeNot survey found that “the majority of Americans (75%) prefer to shop online this year, and the same amount will aim to complete all of their holiday shopping as early as possible.”
This holiday season, it’s a buyer’s market — if you know what to look for, and where to look for it.
Though most of us tend to hold out on major purchases like kitchen gadgets, new headphones and fancy vacuums until Prime Day, there are actually lots of other sales happening besides Prime Day, some with deals at retailers like Walmart, Target and The Home Depot better than Amazon’s.
Of course, if you’re all set on kitchen gadgets and wireless headphones, you might also choose to spend your money this Prime Day with Black-owned brands and Latinx businesses, like Black-owned Etsy shops for face masks, Latinx-owned jewelry shops and Black artists and Latinx artists to know about and buy from.
Because we want you to feel like you’re making the smartest buying decisions during the discounts, we’ve pulled together a list below of four strategic shopping tips to make the most of Prime Day 2020.
Below, take a look at our definitive guide to the making smart shopping decisions on Prime Day:
1. Know that some of the weekend’s best deals won’t actually be at Amazon.
Places like Walmart and Target are already teasing to huge markdowns on in order to compete with Amazon — usually on the same items. For furniture, home decor and fashion, we recommend skimming Target’s Deals Days on Oct. 13 and 14 because they tend to have a more stylish inventory on those items. For appliances and tech, Walmart will likely have similar or better deals than Amazon. On Black Friday 2019, for example, AirPods were cheaper at Walmart than they were at Amazon.
Our advice? Shop around before making a big purchase. In the lead-up to Prime Day, we’ll be verifying which merchants have the best deals on some big-ticket items this year, so make sure you’re signed up for our sales and deals newsletter. We will also be pulling together a list of all of the alternative Prime Day sales that aren’t on Amazon.
2. Don’t believe the hype on “Lightning Deals.”
Some of Amazon’s Prime Day deals are only for short windows of time or are live only for a single day. These so-called “Lightning Deals” are a tactic to get you to impulse purchase quickly, often on items you don’t necessarily need.
It can become maddeningly overwhelming to keep up with these deals, so instead of getting wrapped up in tracking them, we recommend signing up for a free Amazon price-drop tracker like CamelCamelCamel. They’ll do the hard work for you by letting you know when your favorite items are on sale.
Like we said above, before you buy you should confirm that the “Lighting Sale” pricing is, in fact, cheaper on Amazon than at other retailers.
3. Buy from trustworthy sellers.
It’s no secret that Amazon is overrun with questionable sellers and scammy accounts slinging subpar products. Before making a purchase on a seemingly great deal, double check that the seller is a reliable source, like the manufacturer, and that the reviews on the product are genuine.
According to Fakespot, fake reviews on Amazon surge during Prime Day. In 2018, the percentage of fake reviews across the site spiked to 28.23% in July. Be on the lookout, and use Fakespot to double check reviews on an item you’re interested in.
4. Buy only items you need and will actually use.
Prime Day is a great opportunity to get items on the cheap that you’ll actually use. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of buying gadgets and accessories that’ll collect dust and clutter your home.
If you don’t want to eventually KonMari these items, really ask yourself if they’re things you need and want before you click that “Buy Now” button. It sounds obvious, but we all need a friend to play Devil’s Advocate from time to time — especially when we’re shopping.
You can follow all of our Prime Day 2020 coverage here.