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Is Amazon Prime Day Worth It?

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate one of our favorite holidays. No, it’s not Halloween, Thanksgiving or even Christmas. It’s Amazon Prime Big Deals Day, which is basically the fall season’s spin off version of Amazon Prime Day. In reality, the two occasions are interchangeable–both characterized by big time price cuts on items large and small.

In short, Prime Day falls in the summer and is Amazon’s biggest single day of sales every year. So it makes perfect sense that the online retail giant would institute a second such occasion each year. So when we offer some of our tips below for making the most out of the occasion, this advice can apply interchangeably to Amazon Prime Days (July) and Amazon Prime Big Deal Days (October).

With that said, on the million dollar question…

Are the deals really worth it on Amazon Prime Day?

On the surface, Amazon Prime Day may seem like a pretty awesome thing. During those Amazon Prime Days and Prime Big Deal Days, retailers offer Amazon Prime members what appear to be pretty steep discounts on all kinds of everyday household items, big ticket purchases, cosmetics, fashion accessories, designer clothing, and much more. With new deals dropping every 30 minutes and deal alerts hitting your inbox for items on your wish list, Amazon Prime Day sales can be a ton of fun.

And with this October’s Amazon Prime Big Deal Days leading directly into the holiday shopping season, all those lightning deals and sudden price drops can seem like a great opportunity to save money and knock gift items off your list early. But as an Amazon Prime member, are you really getting the best prices? Do those supposedly deep discounts actually offer you meaningful savings?

Does your Amazon Prime deal actually represent the lowest price on the market, or are there other retailers that offer lower prices on the same items every single day? Are all those invite only deals, lightning deals, and Prime early access sale opportunities really creating savings for you? Or do all the deals out there simply entice you to spend money you might have otherwise saved?

Is Amazon Prime Day worth it, or is it all one big marketing ploy to separate you from your money?

Because when you think about it, you probably end up racking up some pretty hefty shopping bills by the end of a Prime event. Does all that spending essentially overshadow what you “saved” per item?

Before we explore these questions, feel free to check out our tips for ways to save money wherever you do your online shopping.

Otherwise, read on to learn more about Amazon Prime Days and whether they’re really worth the money.

A Bit About Prime Day

Before, we dig into the tips, a little background on Amazon Prime Day. The first Amazon Prime Day was held in July of 2015 to mark the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding. The goal was to reward Amazon Prime members for their support.

The first event was a massive success. Held across 24 hours and spanning nine countries, the inaugural Prime Day saw more than 34.4 million items sold. Sellers who used Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) enjoyed a record-setting 300% spike in global sales. By the next year, Prime Day sales more than doubled.

But those figures would pale in comparison to the most recent Amazon Prime Day, an event which is now held across 48 hours each year. By Amazon’s own report, “Prime Day 2023 took place July 11-12. The first day of Prime Day, July 11, was the single largest sales day in company history. Over the course of the two-day shopping event, Prime members purchased more than 375 million items worldwide and saved more than $2.5 billion on millions of deals across the Amazon store, helping make it the biggest Prime Day event ever.”

While Prime Day is typically held in July, the year of the pandemic was an exception. Various challenges resulted in an October Prime Day sale in 2020.

This would actually prove an excellent way to jump start the holiday shopping season early–an outcome which the moribund economy of the time very much needed. Rather than discontinue its October event, Amazon resolved to move forward with two annual Prime Day Events.

The latter received a slight rebrand, and is now referred to as Amazon Prime Big Deal Days. Also taking place over two days–October 10th and 11th, 2023–Prime Big Deal Days falls exactly six weeks before Black Friday.

While Black Friday is traditionally seen as the beginning of the sale laden blitz toward the holidays, there is a strong argument that the October Prime Big Deal Days event really kicks off the holiday shopping season.

Members Only

Before you consider the savings that come with Prime Days and Prime Big Deal Days, remember that you must also factor in the cost of a Prime membership if you don’t already have one. That’s because only paying Prime Members can take advantage of all these deals on Prime Day. And that will cost you either $14.99 per month or $139 annually. So if you’re calculating your potential savings and you aren’t already a Prime member, you’ll need to factor in this subscriber cost.

You could work around it by taking advantage of Amazon’s free trial period. According to an article in Wirecutter, the product recommendation service from the New York Times, “Only Prime members can access deals during Prime Big Deal Days. But if you want to get a head start on your holiday shopping without the commitment of yet another subscription, nonmembers can sign up for a 30-day free trial. (Just be aware you’ll be automatically charged the $15 monthly membership fee if you don’t cancel before the trial period ends.)”

On the other hand, being a Prime Member does get you free shipping, access to a ton of free streaming Amazon music and Prime video content, and a ton of other perks. In other words, it’s kind of worth it just to pay for the membership. It’s even more worth it for college students, who get both membership discounts (just $7.49 a month or $69 per year) and a longer free trial period (up to six months).

10 Tips for Making Prime Day Worth It

So assuming you are a Prime member, are Amazon Prime Days and Amazon Prime Dig Deal Days worth it? Shoppers certainly seem to think so.

According to an article from NPR, “Last year, shoppers worldwide bought a whopping 300 million items during the event. This year, Prime Day is predicted to generate even more revenue than before for the company, according to BofA Securities, Bank of America’s investment banking division.”

So we know sellers do pretty well on Amazon Prime Days. But what about you, as a shopper? Well, that depends on your shopping strategy. There are amazing deals to be found on Prime Days, and not so amazing deals as well. The best way to get the most out of your Prime Day shopping is to plan ahead and keep a few strategies in mind.

1. Avoid Impulse Buying

Rule number one for enjoying meaningful savings on Amazon Prime Days is to resist the urge to shop on impulse. As lightning deals pop up, those giant price slashes can look mighty tempting. A bread maker for just 30% of its list price?!

That’s definitely an awesome deal for a bread maker. But will you actually make bread? Do you need the bread maker? Would it have been on your shopping list if not for the absurd price drop?

If you answered no to any or all of these questions, it’s safe to say that seizing this deal will cost you more money than it will save you. We’re not saying you shouldn’t have fun and buy a few items out of want rather than need.

Just enter into these sales with a clear plan and an actual shopping list. Look for deals on items that you would have desired to purchase even at regular price, and look for brands that you recognize and have already researched. Stay focused on your list and don’t let flashy looking price cuts pull you into purchases you don’t actually need.

2. Scout Those Invite Only Deals

Last year, Amazon rolled out its invite only deals for the first time. The idea was to temper some of the relative chaos that greets consumers attempting to grab some of the most popular and best deals. Amazon once again plans to provide a similar avenue for would-be consumers of these big ticket items this time around.

If you are in the market from any of the items included as invite only deals, you’ll probably want to sign up for a chance at an invite. After all, these deals are generally popular because they offer pretty deep discounts for high value items.

As Mashable explains, “’Invite-only deals’ are already available for Prime Big Deal Days, coming back after their introduction during July’s Prime Day. In July, the invite-only deals program included ten products that Amazon expected to sell out during the sale (like a 43-inch 4K smart TV for $100), and served to alleviate some of the frenzied chaos that typically surrounds the retailer’s biggest doorbuster discounts. To get the deals, Prime members can visit invite-only product listings to request an invitation; the chosen members will receive an email with a unique link to buy the item at some point during the event.”

According to Amazon, hot invite-only deals for the October 2023 Prime Big Deal Days event include 60% off Blink smart home security, 50% off Sony Dolby Atmos/DTS:X Soundbar-HTX8500 2.1ch, 46% off Philips 3000 Series Air Fryer, and 55% off Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless Earbuds.

If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for access to invite only deals on desirable items that are likely to sell out. The thing about the invite only deals is that many of these are particularly popular because supplies are limited and they do indeed represent a very meaningful price break for high quality items.

If you’re lucky enough to receive an invitation, you could enjoy access to some of the best deals site wide.

3. Set Up Deal Alerts

Everybody’s favorite Prime Day feature is the lightning sale. Price drops happen suddenly, and items you want might suddenly appear at dramatic discounts. But of course, you’re not the only one who sees these items. As per the name, lightning deals move pretty fast. To wit, Amazon estimates that during Prime Days in July of 2022, the online retail outlet sold an estimated 100,000 items worldwide…per minute!

So yeah…if you want those sweet lightning deals, you have to strike fast. In its own guide to this year’s Amazon Big Deal Days, Amazon advises consumers to set up Deal Alerts for items they really must have.

Stay on top of sudden price drops by subscribing “to receive deal-alert notifications related to recent Amazon searches and recently viewed items. All you have to do is visit the Prime Big Deal Days event page on the Amazon Shopping app between now and Prime Big Deal Days to create deal alerts. Once Prime Big Deal Days arrives, you will receive push notifications on available deals you’ve subscribed to.”

That way, you can be quick on the draw when amazing deals pop up.

4. Use the Waitlist Function

Of course, you won’t be the only one taking advantage of deal alerts. That means that no matter how fast you move, you may still land on items marked as “sold out.”

Sometimes it can happen in mere minutes. But don’t be afraid to use the “Join Waitlist” function. Why? Because it actually works! 

Those lightning deals drop every five minutes or so. They often get scooped up quickly and placed in carts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these items make it all the way to checkout. An article from Consumer Reports says that you should always “Click on the ‘Join Waitlist’ button on the Amazon website or app for Lightning Deal items that have sold out. Items are deleted from a person’s shopping cart after 15 minutes if they haven’t completed the purchase, and you’ll get an alert if you’re next in line.”

Again, it’s entirely possible that the item really is sold out. But jumping in line on the waitlist can give you a last ditch chance of scoring some of those elusive lightning deals.

5. Check Out the Price History

Beware of artificial price inflation. Just because something is presented with a marked down price doesn’t mean you’re actually getting a good deal. You’ll see all kinds of items whose prices appear to be slashed just in time for Prime Big Deal Days.

But can you really trust that the markdown price actually represents a good deal? Or is it possible that the seller is misrepresenting the everyday price in order to make it appear as though you’re getting a great deal? Or worse yet, is it possible that the items with the steepest discounts are actually cheap facsimiles of more costly and desirable items?

The answer to the latter two questions is, unfortunately, yes. Retailers absolutely use these tactics and others to create the impression of a great deal. Some may even significantly raise the prices of certain items in days leading up to Prime Days in order to inflate the stated rate of discount.

An article from NYT’s Wirecutter warns that while “Many outlets have already started reporting on early October Big Deal Days deals that are live now, but many of these supposed sales are nothing more than middling markdowns or drops on last year’s models and cheap knockoff brands.”

The best way to avoid being taken by these less than stellar deals is to view the price history for a given item. This can tell you whether the current price drop is a real discount or merely the manufactured impression of a good deal. There are some pretty handy web based tools and mobile apps that can help you view and track price history.

CamelCamelCamel came up numerous times during our research as a preferred tool for both comparing prices and viewing price history for Amazon listed items. Both a web based browser extension and a mobile app, CamelCamelCamel also offers price drop alerts so that you can be prepared to jump on the best deals as soon as they hit.

6. Be Suspicious of Third-Party Sellers

While items sold and shipped by Amazon Prime will typically arrive as described, it’s also important to remember that Amazon is a platform for countless independent vendors. The trustworthiness of these vendors can vary widely.

And on Prime Big Deal Days, when consumers are particularly prone to seizing what appear to be tremendous opportunities for savings, the less trustworthy of these vendors tend to come out of the woodwork. With that in mind, Mashable advises shoppers to be particularly wary of third-party vendors, especially those with unfamiliar names.

As Mashable explains, “third-party merchants on Amazon aren’t scammers across the board, but buying something from a seller you don’t recognize can be risky. (Fake reviews and counterfeit listings are way more common — and convincing — than you’d think.) Stick with products that have ‘Ships from’ and ‘Sold by’ under their ‘Buy Now’ buttons just to be safe.”‘

While you’re at it, make sure you recognize brand names on the items being sold. Amazon is absolutely crawling with third-party sellers hawking low-grade and even counterfeit items. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s probably best to move on to a more trusted brand.

7. Shop for Everyday Items

When we think of the big sales that go down on Prime Day, we tend to picture pricey electronics, major home appliances, gaming consoles, Pelotons, and other items. And of course, if you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on just such an item, waiting until Prime Day may be a wise decision.

But that doesn’t mean you should force yourself into a major purchase just to take advantage of these savings. In fact, the real savings on Prime Day are often in those boring, everyday items that we spend so much of our monthly budget on. We admit that there’s nothing exciting about stocking up on tissues, laundry detergent, and razors. But seriously, store-bought razors are crazy expensive.

Getting a bulk package of your brand at a steep per-unit discount could lead to the kind of savings that you’ll enjoy for as long as it takes you to go through all those razors. In other words, if you spend your money wisely by stocking up on household items at deep discounts on Amazon Prime Days, it could shave money off of your monthly shopping expenses for the rest of the year.

8. Get Your Mid-Priced Electronics

Some of the best deals that you’ll find on Amazon Prime Big Deal Days are for Amazon products themselves. Naturally, this is because Amazon views some of these products as useful ways to facilitate further consumer shopping on your part.

Nonetheless, if you have plans to buy or upgrade any of your Amazon or Google powered smart devices, these items tend to be particularly affordable during Big Deal Days. According to the article in Wirecutter from the New York Times, “Savvy shoppers can also look forward to seeing some deep discounts on Amazon’s proprietary brands, including Amazon Echo smart speakers, iRobot robot vacuums, and Kindle ebook readers. Notable markdowns on Google devices like smart displays and the Pixel line of smartphones are also probable. A deal on the newly-announced iPhone 15 is unlikely, but you can still expect to see worthwhile sales on other Apple gadgets such as MacBooks, iPads, and even AirPods.”

Truly though, some of the very best discounts you’ll find are on those Amazon Echo devices and various Smart home peripherals. If you have the need for any Amazon-made devices or gadgets, this is absolutely the time to buy them.

9. Enlist Alexa for Help

Not only are Prime Days a great time to get your Amazon Echo products at steep discounts, but you can also get steep discounts by using your Amazon Echo products. See what we did there?

Amazon offers a variety of shopping assistance functions through its Echo devices in order to streamline the shopping process. All you need to do is tell your Echo device to keep a lookout for Prime Day Deals relating to your shopping history and your wishlist.

As Amazon explains, “Alexa can proactively notify you up to 24 hours in advance of a deal becoming available for eligible items you’ve saved to a Wish List, Cart, or Save for Later….You can ask Alexa to remind you about the deal when it goes live, or ask Alexa to make the purchase when the deal is available by saying, ‘Alexa, buy it for me.’ If you want to be alerted at the start of Prime Big Deal Days, say, ‘Alexa, set a reminder for Prime Big Deal Days.'”

This is yet another way to stay on top of lightning deals and other limited time offers before they’re gone.

10. Check Out Other Major Retailers

Prime Day is not exactly a secret. Now that Amazon is the biggest retailer in the world, most other major retailers recognize the huge opportunity that is Prime Day. Thanks to Amazon, consumers have their wallets out and most are more than ready to spring on an item at the right price. That’s why so many other retailers will also get in on the price cutting action.

Some may even offer better deals than what you’ll find on Amazon. For instance, says the article from NPR, “Big-box stores like Target and Walmart and smaller retailers are offering sales and promotions this week. Like Prime Day, Walmart’s and Target’s sales also require membership in their rewards programs — Walmart+ and Target Circle, respectively. Like Amazon Prime, Walmart+ offers a 30-day free trial and then costs $98 a year. Target Circle is free to join.”

So before you put all your eggs in the Amazon basket, just remember that there are tons of retailers out there offering their own highly competitive deals on Amazon Prime Big Deal Days.


If Amazon Prime Big Deal Days are the new unofficial beginning to the holiday season, then that can only mean one thing–Halloween is coming! We love everything about it. The costumes, the candy, the cost. Well…not so much the cost. 

If paying for all those decorations, party supplies, and assorted creepy crawlies is sending chills down your spine, check out our tips for saving money this Halloween.