This is the second year the e-tailer will offer “more than 100,000” deals only for Prime members, making it “the biggest Amazon event ever.” In the vein of Hallmark, it started the holiday last year to celebrate its 20th anniversary and to drum up summer sales, in addition to enticing more Prime members. The discounts are only available to Prime members, who pay $99 a year for perks such as free two-day shipping on many items and streaming of movies and TV episodes.
The manufactured holiday is also an answer to Alibaba’s overwhelmingly successful “Singles’ Day,” which the Chinese e-commerce giant started in 2009 on Nov. 11. In 2014, Alibaba Singles’ Day sales came in at $9.3 billion.
Last year, Prime Day was the single biggest day for sales for Amazon.
“Prime Day is a unique opportunity to discover new items and great deals, on top of our already low prices,” said Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley. “Following last year’s record sales, we have dramatically increased the inventory behind many deals.”
Prime members in the U.S. can begin shopping at midnight on Pacific Coast time (3 a.m. EST), and new deals will be added every five minutes throughout the day. Prime Day is open to all Prime countries, which are the U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Austria.
Among the deals are, in the U.S., nearly double the TV units compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, Greeley said. There are also expected to be deals on toys, Amazon Echo-related specials, and twice as many small business sellers participating.
“Even with this massive selection, we know many of the Prime Day offers will sell out, so members should download the Amazon shopping app to receive notifications on their favorite deals.” Non-prime members can sign up for a free trial up to July 12.
Last year, electronics made up half of the Daily Deals and the average discount was about 50 percent, said Katherine Wilson, director of marketing insights at Clavis Insight, who noted that as of 2 p.m. EST, about 37 percent of items were sold out with the option to join a wait list.
Amazon will lead up to the July 12 day of deals with “countdown deals” starting on July 5, with items ranging from a 32-inch TV that comes with a Fire TV Stick, summer travel products, back-to-school items and more TV and movie-related discounts that promote items such as the Amazon Fire TV and tablets.
Amazon has “tens of millions” of Prime members around the world.