Amazon's biggest shopping day of the year is almost upon us. And I'll be all over Prime Day, because as deals editor for Tom's Guide, it's my job to sift through the deals with our team and surface the ones that are worth your hard-earned dollars. But when it comes to shopping for myself, I plan to sit out Prime Day this year.
Dubbed Black Friday in July, Amazon's made-up holiday was originally created in July 2015 to celebrate Amazon's 20th anniversary. The 24-hour event crushed Amazon's Black Friday sales and quickly became an annual event. Last year, Amazon extended the 24-hour event by 6 hours, and this year rumors indicate it could get another 6-hour extension, to become a 36-hour affair.
All this makes for a bewildering "holiday." And a lot of the deals aren't what they're cracked up to be. Here's why I plan to skip Prime Day this time around.
Prime Day is designed to sell Prime memberships
Make no mistake, Prime Day is all about one thing: selling as many Prime memberships as possible. Last Prime Day, Amazon saw more new-member sign-ups than on any other day of the year, according to its 2017 Q2 financial results. That's not to say you won't find any good deals then: Prime Day is an excellent time to purchase Amazon hardware such as Echo devices and Fire tablets. Just keep in mind it's a made-up event — just like Digital Day was last holiday season — created to benefit Amazon's pockets.
Most items will be on sale again in August, September, October ...
If you're shopping for Amazon hardware like an Echo Dot or an Echo Show, Prime Day is indeed an excellent time to make a purchase. Outside of Black Friday, it's when you'll see the lowest prices on Amazon devices. But even if you miss it, Amazon tends to discount its hardware at least once a month. For example, right now you can get the Echo Show for $159.99 ($70 off). We predict it'll be at least $10 cheaper on Prime Day, but $70 off on a random day in June isn't a bad sale at all.
Personally, I'm more interested in seeing what Amazon may do with Whole Foods — a store renowned for not offering deals — than any sale it could offer online.
Can I really trust Alexa?
I love my Echo. I use it every day for news updates, streaming music from BBC's Radio 1 and catching up on World Cup scores. I also use it for deals. On select holidays like Black Friday and Prime Day, Amazon has offered $10 or more in credits if you use Alexa to purchase or reorder a previous purchase. I expect voice shopping to play a bigger role this Prime Day, but given all the privacy concerns surrounding Amazon's digital assistant — not to mention that creepy laugh — I'm not too keen on adding another Echo device to my home unless I see an extraordinary price cut.
It's a fire sale
Prime Day is Amazon's version of a clearance sale, which means you'll find a lot of random, unwanted items on sale. Last year, the retailer took 50 percent off this Hallmark Box of Greetings Cards and 86 percent off this AmazonBasics RFID Neck Wallet. Impulse buys? Perhaps for some people, but personally, these deals mean nothing to me and will probably be on sale again by the end of the month.
But I will keep an eye on …
Last Prime Day, I purchased an AmazonBasics Lightning cable, deodorant and dog treats: practical purchases that I made because they were a few bucks off.
There are some items I'm interested in buying, but as Purch's deals editor, I need to see significant price cuts before I commit to anything. For instance, a sub-$80 Fire TV Cube, while unlikely, would merit a purchase, especially given its Editors' Choice status.
Earlier this year, Newegg via eBay offered an epic $239 Nintendo Switch deal. It's been the best Switch deal by a long shot. I don't expect Amazon to match that, but if it does — then maybe I'll change my tune for Prime Day 2019.