Amazon Prime Day Is on July 16 — but Are the Discounts Worth It?

Amazon Prime Day is back.

The online shopping extravaganza will kick off on July 16 at 3 p.m. ET and last 36 hours — a record-long Prime Day schedule for the e-tailer. It launched in 2015, offering an abundance of deals and steals from home and kitchen to fashion, electronics and even toys, and the day of savings continues to court fans.

To score the best bargains, shoppers must be Amazon Prime subscribers. In April, the company announced that it was raising the price of its annual Amazon Prime membership from $99 to $119. Citing the service’s rising costs, the company made that move only a few months after it hiked prices in January for monthly Prime memberships from $10.99 to $12.99.

So is the subscription splurge worth the sale’s savings? It depends on the type of shopper.

You should invest in Prime if:

  • You regularly shop on Amazon
  • You live in a major metropolitan area like New York or Los Angeles
  • You stream content on the web, whether it’s music or video
  • Your Amazon purchases usually fall under $25
  • You value free same-day delivery

You should not invest in Prime if:

  • You do majority of your shopping at brick-and-mortar stores or specialty online retailers
  • Your Amazon purchases usually exceed $25

Customers who repeatedly shop on the web might find it useful to join Amazon Prime, particularly if they live in major metropolitan areas or rely on the site for streaming content. Additionally, the global online sale will feature heavy markdowns on items like branded devices such as Echo and Fire TV; subscriptions like Prime Now and Pantry; and even Amazon Warehouse, which sells preowned goods from the retailer and third-party vendors.

Prime Day deals to watch out for:

  • Amazon Echo Show at $129.99 (originally $229.99)
  • 30 percent off everyday essentials
  • Up to 25 percent off Rivet furniture and decor
  • Up to 20 percent off Amazon Basics luggage, home and more

Prime also offers free two-day shipping on a plethora of eligible items along with access to its Video and Music services, as well as free Kindle books, exclusive savings on Whole Foods Market purchases and the exclusive Prime Wardrobe.

However, there is an option for shoppers who don’t want to commit to the yearly subscription: If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial, with students getting six months for free on top of a 50 percent discount on the membership, making the cost $59 per year. (Non-students have the above option of paying for one month of Prime for only $12.99.)

Separately, if you’re a member who’s new to the ins and outs of Prime Day, you’ll want to ensure that your credit card/PayPal information and delivery address are already set. Shoppers have 15 minutes to purchase an item added to their carts before it’s released to other shoppers.

Prior to its first-quarter earnings call, Amazon disclosed in a letter to shareholders that the number of Prime members exceeds 100 million around the globe.

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