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What to expect from Amazon Prime Day 2019

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Amazon Prime Day, explained

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Amazon Prime tape on box stock photo Samit Sarkar/Polygon

Amazon Prime Day, the annual shopping “holiday” exclusive to Amazon Prime members, is fast approaching. Early Tuesday morning, Amazon announced that its midsummer Black Friday will return on July 15 and 16, a full two days of deals less than three weeks away.

If you’ve never shopped Prime Day before it can be a bit overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered with all the background info you’ll need and our expert advice on how to find the best deals. And on Prime Day(s) itself, Polygon will be picking out our favorite gaming, tech, and entertainment deals so be sure to check back here or follow us at @PolygonDeals to stay updated.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is, obviously, an Amazon invention. In mid-July, the retail giant discounts thousands of products across all categories in a shopping event similar to Black Friday. Though I suppose it more closely resembles Cyber Monday, since it exists almost entirely online. (The newly Amazon-owned Whole Foods offered an in-store Prime Day promotion last year; the grocery chain will likely do the same in 2019.)

The catch, of course, is that the deals are exclusively available to Amazon Prime members. Amazon does offer a 30-day free Prime trial, though, so if you’re curious you could always sign up for the trial when Prime Day deals start popping up and cancel it once you’re done shopping. That’ll only work once though, so if you want to shop Prime Day again next year you’ll have to shell out for the membership.

However non-Prime members aren’t left entirely in the cold. In the last few years, other major retailers like Walmart and eBay have tried to get in on the Prime Day action as well, offering some super subtle promotions like free two-day shipping and a “Primo Deals” sale. We expect to see more of these competing sales this year as Amazon Prime Day continues to dominate summer shopping.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Okay, technically we should be calling it “Amazon Prime Days” this year. After last year’s 36-hour sale, Amazon is expanding Prime Day 2019 to two full days, from 12 a.m. PT on Monday, July 15 to 11:59 p.m. PT on Tuesday, July 16. That’s when the bulk of the deals will be active, and when most of the doorbusters and flash sales will pop up.

But, much like the Christmas Creep consumes all of November and December, and Black Friday has slowly morphed into “Cyber Week”, Prime Day deals now dominate most of July.

During the lead-up to Prime Day, Amazon drops “Prime Day Launches”, new and upcoming products that are available exclusively for Prime members during the launch window. Some current Prime Day Launches (all pre-orders) are listed here:

Amazon also announced two early Prime Day deals, Toshiba’s Fire TV Edition smart TV for $179.99 ($120 off), and Jordan Peele’s Us, available to rent at Amazon Prime Video for $2.99.

And once Prime Day wraps up, we expect there to be a few lingering post-Prime Day deals as well.

Why is Amazon Prime Day?

The first Prime Day was billed as a celebration of Amazon’s 20th anniversary back in 2015, but it was (presumably) so successful that the company decided to make it an annual tradition. In just four years it has exploded into an internet-wide shopping event comparable to Black Friday. That’s the Amazon effect, y’all.

How do I shop Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is more about quantity than quality — frankly, there’s gonna be a lot of crap to sort through in order to find the best deals.

The team here at Polygon will be doing a lot of that crap sorting for you, pulling out the best deals in gaming, tech, and entertainment that Amazon (and its competitors) have to offer. Some examples of things we’ll be keeping an eye out for: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One bundles, gaming accessories, 4K TVs, Blu-ray box sets, and digital comics.

Of course even if you’re shopping outside of our recommended products, we want to make sure you’re actually getting good deals as well. Here’s some advice to help you get the most bang for your buck.

The most important thing to remember when shopping any sale, Amazon Prime Day included, is to do the research to make sure that you’re actually getting a good deal. The listed MSRP is not necessarily the street price, so check a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel and see what other major retailers like Walmart or Best Buy are offering before making a big purchase.

Finally, don’t let the hype cloud your judgment. Lightning deals and doorbusters are designed to create urgency and make you drop a hunk of cash without thinking it through. The good news is that Amazon will typically announce lightning deals an hour before they drop. That’s why it’s a great idea to keep Amazon’s deals page bookmarked on Prime Day. If you see something you like, you’ll have time to consider if you really want it or are just responding to the thrill of a ticking clock. Those lightning deal announcements don’t share what the discount will be though, so make sure you keep a price point in mind. Decide how much you’re willing to spend and stick to it.

Armed with these tactics, Polygon’s recommendations, and an iron will, you’ll be sure to find the best deals and avoid buyers remorse on Prime Day and beyond.