For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic is altering the timing of Amazon Prime Day. Last year, this massive two-day sale — rivaling Black Friday in scale and depth of price cuts — got pushed forward from its usual mid-July timing to mid-October. But this year, Amazon is holding the sale early on June 21 and 22.
With this earlier date, Amazon has a chance to catch restless shoppers at home before they leave for long-delayed vacations. To tempt them, it’s offering two full days of “can’t-miss deals” for Amazon Prime members.
But Amazon isn’t the only retailer vying for shoppers’ attention. As usual, competitors like Target and Walmart are offering their own sales simultaneously, with deals to rival Amazon’s. The savviest shoppers will check out all the options to find the best bargains.
Retailers Cutting Prices on Amazon Prime Day
For as long as Prime Day has existed, other retailers have held competing sales to overlap it. Typically, the field includes Walmart, Target, and Best Buy plus several others.
Last year’s October Prime Day, with its unusual timing, didn’t attract quite as many competing sales. But this year, Amazon’s competitors are ready to jump back into the fray. Depending on what you need to buy, the price on one of these rival sites could be better than the best Prime Day deals.
As Prime Day approaches, expect more and more retailers to announce competing events. So far, these retailers have announced anti-Prime Day sales.
Amazon’s most prominent retail competitor, Walmart, usually tries to outdo Amazon with its anti-Prime Day sale, and this year is no exception. Its summer “Deals for Days” sales event — a name borrowed from its holiday sales — will last from June 20 through June 23, two full days longer than Prime Day and overlapping it completely.
According to CNET, Deals for Days will offer bargains for both in-store and online shoppers. Walmart is promising savings to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in various categories, including toys, electronics, beauty products, clothing, and home goods.
Specific offers include:
Walmart is already offering price drops on some of this merchandise, even before the start of Deals for Days. But they’ll have even lower prices once the sale begins.
Unlike Amazon’s deals, Walmart’s will be available to all. But Insider predicts Walmart will use the sale as an opportunity to push its Walmart+ service. For $98 per year (about $20 less than an Amazon Prime membership), Walmart+ offers unlimited free two-day or next-day shipping on all online orders, free delivery from stores, and discounts on gas and prescriptions.
Insider also notes that last year’s Walmart anti-Prime Day sales were very competitive. Many deals ran out of stock before the sale was over. Customers eager to take advantage of Deals for Days should plan to do their shopping early.
As usual, Target has scheduled its Target Deal Days shopping event to run over both days of Prime Day. This year, it will be one day longer, running from June 20 through June 22. The retailer is promising sales on every type of product in the store, including electronics, toys, beauty, essentials (everyday goods), and (for the first time) food and beverages.
So far, Target hasn’t announced any prices for specific products. It only says there will be hundreds of thousands of discounts available online — including some “special, limited-time deals.” To catch these deals as they appear, check Target’s website daily before and during the sale.
However, you can get some idea of what to expect based on Target’s deals at last year’s event. According to Insider, these bargains included $50 off a Roomba robotic vacuum, $150 off a Dyson vacuum, and $100 off a 50-inch Samsung smart TV. Insider predicts similarly deep discounts on electronics this year, including gaming and smart home products.
To maximize your savings, pick up some Target gift cards before the sale begins. From June 16 through June 19, users of the store’s free loyalty program, Target Circle, get 5% off on up to $500 in digital store gift cards at Target.com. By stacking this deal with the 5% in-store discount for Target RedCard users, you can get an extra 10% off everything you buy.
Another perk of shopping Target’s sale rather than Amazon’s is the range of delivery options. Target gives you a choice of three ways to get your items the same day you purchase them. You can pick them up inside the store with order pickup, receive a contact-free in-car delivery with Drive Up, or have purchases delivered to your door with contactless same-day delivery from Shipt.
Unconfirmed Retailers Likely to Have Anti-Prime Day Sales
To date, other retailers that have competed with Amazon Prime Day in the past, such as eBay, haven’t announced their own sales events for 2021. But you can probably expect sales from these competitors.
Wirecutter predicts we’ll see a competing sale at Best Buy, which historically counters Prime Day deals with discounts of its own. In the past, it has priced some merchandise to match Amazon’s — sometimes as early deals before Prime Day itself.
Insider notes that last year’s deals at Best Buy included $120 laptops, $60 wireless headphones, and $530 70-inch smart TVs. It predicts equally big discounts this year on high-end headphones, big-screen TVs, kitchen appliances, and Apple products. CNET says Best Buy is especially likely to compete with Amazon on TV deals.
According to Insider, Best Buy’s 2020 anti-Prime Day sale ran at exactly the same time as Amazon’s. That’s also the approach it’s taken in previous years, so you can probably expect the same in 2021. Keep an eye on Best Buy’s sales and promotions page for announcements.
In 2020, Kohl’s countered Prime Day with its weeklong home sale. It offered discounts stacked on discounts, with coupons for 15% off already discounted prices and $10 in Kohl’s Cash for a future purchase on every $50 spent. Users of the Kohl’s credit card got additional discounts of up to 30%.
This year is likely to be no different. Insider notes that both coupon stacking deals and Kohl’s Cash rewards are regular features of Kohl’s sales. Likely sale categories include home goods like decor, kitchen equipment, bedding, and furniture.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Last fall, Bed Bath & Beyond met Prime Day head-on with discounts of 25% to 60% off items like decor, curtains, rugs, and bedding. Purchases over $200 also netted a reward of $50, which was valid for 30 days.
Insider predicts similar savings from this summer’s competing Prime Day sale. Products likely to feature in the sale include bedding, decor, robot vacuum cleaners, and small appliances.
If you’re planning any major purchases, invest $29 in a Beyond+ membership. It gets you an extra 20% off plus free shipping, which means it will pay for itself on a purchase of $145 or more. You might even be able to get that discount for free if BB&B gives out $29 bonus cards to new members, as it did last year.
Another competitor to last year’s Prime Day sales was Home Depot. It offered special discounts of up to 50% off interior furniture, kitchen goods, power tools, small appliances, and decor. These savings came on top of all the ongoing deals at its regular fall appliance sale.
This year’s earlier Prime Day sale is likely to overlap with some of Home Depot’s summer specials. Look for savings on indoor furniture, which often goes on sale in midsummer. Watch the store’s Specials & Offers page for up-to-date info.
You can also usually count on Old Navy to offer an anti-Prime Day sale. In both 2019 and 2020, this clothing retailer put Amazon Prime Day deals to shame with a whopping 50% off all its online merchandise plus free shipping. Chances are it will match that discount this year as well.
Although Old Navy is a brick-and-mortar chain, its competing Prime Day sale tends to be online-only. Get comfortable in front of your computer to score the best deals.
Pro tip: Add the Capital One Shopping browser extension before shopping. Capital One Shopping automatically adds any available coupon codes to your purchase.
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How to Shop the Sales
With so many different sales, you need a strategy to find the best price for everything on your shopping list. These tips can help you turn all the rival sales to your advantage.
Shopping for One Item
If you’ve been waiting for a great sale to take the plunge on a big purchase like a major appliance or a smart TV, now’s your chance. Do some research to figure out exactly which brand and model you want — or if you’re willing to be flexible, a list of brands and models.
Next, decide what your action price is — that is, how low the price would have to fall on your chosen brand and model for you to jump in and buy it immediately. Knowing that information ahead enables you to keep a cool head as new deals pop up and avoid getting caught up in the excitement of the moment.
Once you know what you want and what you’re willing to pay for it, keep your eye on various retail sites to see when one of the products on your list goes on sale. A price-comparison app or browser extension like PriceBlink can help. If you think you see a match, double-check the model number to ensure it’s the one you want.
What you do next depends on the nature of the sale you’ve found. If there are limited quantities or the sale is only active for a brief period, jump on the bargain before it gets away. But if you have time, check the prices on competing sites first to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
Pro tip: You can save even more on in-store and online purchases using the Ibotta app. It pays a percentage of each purchase back into your account as a cash-back reward.
Shopping for Multiple Items
If you’ve got several things on your list, that makes sale shopping a little more complicated. Shopping for multiple products improves the chances of finding a bargain on at least one of them. But it’s much harder to track the prices of multiple products at once, increasing the odds you’ll miss out on a bargain.
There’s also a greater risk you’ll get carried away with deal hunting and go over budget. For instance, if you find one big item slashed from $1,000 to $500, you’ve just scored a great deal. But if you find three deals like that and snap them all up, you’ve just spent $1,500, which could be more than you can really afford.
To avoid these problems, prioritize your list. Figure out which goods are the most critical to buy during the sale, and focus on those specific products as you shop so you won’t miss a deal. Some price-comparison apps can help you by setting up alerts so you learn about deals as soon as they pop up.
Also, set a total budget for your spending during the sales. Give yourself a set dollar amount to spend on all your bargains combined. As you shop, keep a running tally, subtracting what you’ve already spent from your total so you know how much more you can afford to spend. That way, you won’t have any unpleasant surprises when your next credit card bill arrives.
Finally, remember that if you’re shopping for certain products, the Amazon Prime Day sales are really your only option. That includes Amazon devices like the Kindle, Echo Dot, Fire TV stick, and any Alexa-enabled device. But you can still boost your savings by tracking Amazon prices over time on CamelCamelCamel.
Don’t let yourself get carried away. With so many stores offering so many bargains, it’s easy to lose your head and start throwing deals into your virtual cart haphazardly, whether you need them or not. This risk is especially high if you’ve ever experienced a bout of compulsive spending.
To keep your bargain-grabbing impulses in check, force yourself to slow down and think rationally. Remember that just because some Prime Day deals are unbeatable, that doesn’t mean all of them are. Stick closely to your shopping list, and avoid impulse buys. And always keep your budget in mind as you shop.