coronavirus pandemic

Amazon's Annual Prime Day Kicks Off

The 48-hour Amazon sales event is being held Oct. 13 and Oct. 14 and promises consumers incredible savings on millions of products

NBC Universal, Inc.

Plenty of people began shopping online Tuesday, trying to get a bargain during Amazon's Prime Day sales.

The annual 48-hour deals event for Prime members usually happens in July, but with the coronavirus pandemic this year, the online retail giant postponed it in hopes of changing the pre-holiday shopping landscape.

The Prime Day sales event instead is being held Oct. 13 and Oct. 14 this year.

Worldwide sales from Prime Day this year are forecast by eMarketer to jump 43% from 2019 levels to $9.9 billion.

Amazon has promised incredible savings on millions of products and has encouraged its members to beat the holiday hustle and shop for everyone on their gift list.

"This is obviously before a Black Friday, a Cyber Monday and it is kicking off this start of what is going to be an unprecedented holiday and with that, will come some unprecedented trends among consumers," said Michael Parrish Dudell, Chief Strategy Officer at CouponFollow, an online coupon savings tool.

CouponFollow's recent survey of consumers found that 80% of Amazon Prime members and those planning to become Prime members said they would participate in the Prime Day event this year.

"Fifty-five percent of the consumers that we polled are planning to use their total spend on Amazon Prime Day," Dudell said. "What we're seeing, it really comes down to is convenience, ease, speed. These are all things that have mattered over the past couple of years, but COVID and the pandemic has changed the way those are prioritized in the life of everyday Americans."

Dudell said they are seeing a continued dominance with Amazon and a focus on trust. Consumers are shopping there because they trust the platform and are confident their items will be delivered when they are supposed to be delivered, according to Dudell.

This year, you won't see crowds of shoppers packing into stores. The pandemic has impacted shopping habits and changed the way stores are operating and what they are allowed to do, experts say.

If you are shopping online, you should be utilizing price comparison sites and tools to make sure you're getting the absolute best price. And if you're taking part in Prime Day, experts say check out the competition because they are offering their own sales this week.

"Walmart is probably Amazon;s biggest competitor and they are running The Big Save event," said Samantha Gordon, Deals Editor for Consumer Reports. "Target is also having a sale called Deal Days that is going to run the same time as Prime Day and we're also seeing discounts at other retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond and Best Buy."

Amazon is promising deals that cover all kinds of categories…from apparel to tech devices to toys to kitchen appliances. Some prices may be the lowest of the season and some lightning deals can sell out quickly, consumer experts say.

"They can last anywhere from four to twenty-four hours," Gordon said. "They also have a limited inventory. So once you add a lightning deal to your cart, you have fifteen minutes to check out. If you don't check out in time you lose that item, it goes back into the pool and somebody else is able to buy it."

Consumer Reports is tracking all the best deals on top-tested products that they have tested in their labs and analyzing the price differences, so if you need a little help deciding what to buy, you can head over to their website to get some help.

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