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Amazon Prime Day 2020: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Amazon Prime Day will likely occur late summer, according to a report by Reuters. Amazon's massive shopping holiday — which usually occurs in mid-July — could be moved "until at least August." Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest retail holidays of the year. However, the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc everywhere and could force Amazon to move Amazon Prime Day till later in the summer. 

Now in its sixth year, Amazon Prime Day is a 48-hour sale that gives Prime members exclusive access to sitewide discounts. Prime Day deals include price drops on everything from the Echo Dot to the MacBook Air. It's become a massive juggernaut for Amazon and although Amazon Prime Day is still expected to occur this year, it will take place at a different time. 

Reuters also reports that Amazon is expecting a "potential $100-million hit from excess devices it may now have to sell at a discount" as a result of moving Prime Day to August. 

Regardless of when Amazon Prime Day actually occurs, we're here to help you find the best Amazon Prime Day deals. So here's everything you need to know ahead of Prime Day. 

What is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

Amazon Prime Day started in July of 2015 as a way to celebrate Amazon's 20th anniversary. For 24 hours, Amazon slashed the price of hundreds of items. The event was a hit with Prime members and since the first Prime Day, Amazon has grown its deals-a-thon into a massive Black Friday like event. 

The first Amazon Prime Day was celebrated in nine countries including the U.S., UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria. Since then, Amazon Prime Day has expanded in both duration and popularity. In 2017, Amazon Prime Day lasted for 30 hours. In 2018 it expanded the holiday to 36 hours and in 2019 it lasted a full 48 hours. It ran from July 15 through end of July 16.

When is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

Although there's no official date yet, Amazon Prime Day 2020 will likely occur in August, according to recent reports. The new date is due to the coronavirus pandemic. If Amazon Prime Day occurs in August, other retailers may have sales in July. Each year, Amazon's competitors also try to undercut Amazon by announcing summer sales of their own. Look for counter deals from the likes of Best Buy and Walmart. 

Will coronavirus affect Amazon Prime Day 2020? 

The COVID-19 coronavirus is having a huge impact on the tech industry. Numerous trade shows have been cancelled and production of some tech items has come to a screeching halt. Amazon itself has had trouble keeping up with the demand of shipping and had buckled under the intense pressure to deliver. It's still unclear when the COVID-19 pandemic will clear out, but it will certainly affect shipping speed on Amazon Prime Day. 

What countries will celebrate Amazon Prime Day this year?

The first Amazon Prime Day was celebrated in the U.S., UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria. Last year, Prime deals were held in 18 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, Austria, France, China, Canada, Belgium, and Australia. 

Amazon Prime Day concert

Amazon Prime Day 2019 Concert

(Image credit: Amazon)

For the past two years, Amazon has kicked off Prime Day with a Prime Day concert that all Prime members can stream live via Amazon's website. In 2018, Amazon chose Ariana Grande, Alessia Cara, Kelsea Ballerina, and  Julia Michaels to headline the show. Last year, the Amazon Prime Day concert features Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Becky G, and SZA. 

Both concerts were held in New York and the previous year's concert was available for streaming throughout Prime Day. (For Prime members only, naturally). Given the current state of New York, we don't foresee any concerts taking place in the city. However, the retailer may still stream an Amazon Prime Day concert without an audience. 

Amazon Prime Day and Whole Foods 

Amazon-owned organic grocer Whole Foods plays a huge role on Prime Day. In fact, one of our favorite Amazon Prime Day deals come from Whole Foods. For the past two years, Prime members who spend $10 or more at Whole Foods get a $10 Amazon credit they can use on Prime Day. 

Other Amazon Prime Day Whole Foods deals include discounts on seafood, meat, organic produce, and more. Even if you're not a fan of Whole Foods, it's worth shopping there in the lead up to Prime Day (and during Prime Day) for the savings. 

Amazon Prime Day vs. other holidays

There are still a few major sales between now and Amazon Prime Day. Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and July 4th are just a few major holidays that come before Prime Day. That doesn't include the random sales and deals Amazon offers on a weekly basis. For instance, this week Amazon is discounting our favorite 4K streaming sticks. The sale includes both Roku and Amazon's own Fire TV streamers. 

While this week's prices are great, Prime Day deals will offer even lower prices, sometimes saving you an extra $10 to $40. So unless you're in dire need of a new device, you're better off saving any major Amazon purchases till July (if you can wait that long, of course). 

Amazon Prime Day reminders

  • If you you're not a Prime member, you can't participate on Prime Day. However, what you can do is sign up for a free Prime membership. The free trial lasts 30 days, which is more than enough time to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day sales.  
  • Plan on cancelling your Prime membership? Here's everything you need to know before you cancel your Amazon Prime membership.  
  • Buyer's remorse?  Instead of shipping stuff back to Amazon, you can now make Amazon returns at all Kohl's nationwide stores (excluding Anchorage, Alaska). If a return is eligible, you'll see the "Kohl's dropoff option" in Amazon's Online Return Center. (Not all items are eligible for Kohl's dropoff, so if you don't see the option, chances are it's not eligible). 

What were the best-selling devices on Amazon Prime Day?

The numbers are out and last year's Prime Day was another massive success for Amazon. The e-tailer sold more than 175 million items worldwide and Prime Day sales surpassed the previous year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

July 15 also proved to be a huge day for new Prime memberships with more Prime member sign ups than any day in Amazon's history. 

Amazon's own hardware topped the charts once again. This year, shoppers doubled down on Alexa devices by purchasing smart displays such as the Echo Show and Echo Show 5. The Fire 7 Tablet was the best-selling Amazon tablet and according to Amazon, shoppers also purchased twice as many Fire TV Edition Smart TVs than they did the previous year.

Our favorite Amazon Prime Day deals (now expired)

As we've said before, Prime Day is an excellent time to purchase Amazon hardware. So it's no surprise that year after year, many of our favorite Amazon Prime Day deals are for Amazon devices. However, there are a few other deals that we thought were great. 

Last year, Amazon offered Amazon credits of up to $60 on select purchases. The sale was available on purchases made via the Amazon app only. Moreover, you had to search for the promo via the app and click a specific link to activate the promo. Bottom line, it wasn't easy to find. But the sale (now expired) broke down as such:  

  • Spend $100: get $10 Amazon credit
  • Spend $200: get $22 Amazon credit
  • Spend $500: get $60 Amazon credit

Echo Dot 3rd Gen (2-Pack)
The Editor's Choice Echo Dot dropped to an all-time low of $22 on Prime Day. For a limited time, you can buy two of these best-selling smart speakers for the price of one. Enter coupon, "DOT2PACK" at checkout to secure this deal.View Deal

Echo Show 5 (2-Pack)
This was my favorite Amazon device deal on Prime Day. I didn't think they'd do it, but not only did Amazon discount its new Echo Show 5, but it took a generous $40 off dropping it to $149.98.  View Deal

Gift Card Bonus
This was my first Prime Day 2019 purchase. I bought myself a $25 Amazon eGift card and got a free $5 Amazon credit (which I used on a post-Prime Day deal). When Amazon gives away free cash, you take advantage of it.
View Deal

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS)
Amazon took $50 off both the 40mm and 44mm versions of the current-gen Apple Watch. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch S3 dropped to $169. These were our favorite Apple deals during Prime Day. View Deal

Apple AirPods
I had mixed feelings about this deal. On the one hand, Macy's had them for $129 a few days before Prime Day. On the other hand, Amazon actually had stock of the AirPods (Macy's deal ran out in hours), even if they had been selling at this $144 price since Father's Day. View Deal

Whole Foods
As a Prime member who shops at Whole Foods, I was excited to see this 2018 promo back in 2019. Spend $10 at Whole Foods (or on a Prime Now order) and you get a $10 Amazon Prime Day credit. It's the kind of deal everyone should take advantage of (especially anyone planning to make a purchase on Prime Day). View Deal

35% Off Gatorade, Pepsi, Doritos, More @ Amazon
Tech deals make up the majority of Prime Day deals, but this year we noticed Amazon make a big push for food deals. It's not too much of a surprise (they own Whole Foods, afterall) but everything from Pepsi to protein bars were on sale during Prime Day. View Deal

What were Amazon Prime Day's biggest disappointments?

Last year was Prime Day's 5-year anniversary. As a result, we expected Amazon to offer one spectacular deal that would take everyone by surprise. We expected them to offer a discount on Prime memberships. (Instead they offered Prime membership discounts on Black Friday). 

We also expected to see a killer Apple deal on a current-gen Apple device. Don't get me wrong, there were many excellent Apple deals on Prime Day, but there wasn't a standout deal that shouted "Amazon is the king of Apple deals." 

And while Amazon's website didn't crash (sorry eBay), there were a couple of instances where the wrong price was displayed on a product.

MacBook Air (2017)
Controversy! Yes, many of us were excited to see the MacBook Air (2017) slashed to $699, but I found it a slightly disappointing deal. It's an old laptop (a good one, but an old one) that was selling for $749 earlier in the month. Bottom line: I would've preferred that Amazon slash the price of the current-gen MBA down to $949 or (gasp) $899. This MacBook is currently a modest $66 off now. View Deal

$15 off your first Prime Now order @ Amazon  
Prime Now has rapidly expanded and is now available in various cities. In previous years, Amazon has offered $15 off your first three Prime Now orders. (For new Prime Now users only). I know because I took advantage of that deal last year. This year, however, it only took $15 off your first order with no discounts on your second or third order. Tsk, tsk, Amazon.View Deal