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Amazon’s member’s only sale is back in July. Can you nab a bargain, or is it just a big PR push?

As with Black Friday, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of Amazon’s Prime Day sale. There are so many offers, each of them seeming to have huge discounts that even I’ve been guilty of buying things that weren’t exactly essential. 

Now, if you can afford it and actually use what you buy, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But are you actually getting a bargain? I’ve taken a look at some of the big offers from last year’s sales as well as half a dozen of my own purchases to see whether Amazon Prime Day is any good.

What is Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is an annual sale to celebrate Amazon’s birthday – and it’s only for customers signed up to Amazon Prime. This comes at a cost, £79 for a year, £7.99 a month or newbies can take out a 30-day free trial.

For that money you don’t just get access to this special sale, you also get extras such as film and tv streaming and free next day delivery. Here’s my full review and my thoughts on whether it’s worth the cash.

When is Amazon Prime Day 2019?

This year it’s starting first thing on Monday 15th July with offers starting at 00.01am. It’ll then run for 48 hours, so it’s all day Monday and Tuesday. There will be some deals across both days, while others will likely be lightening offers that come and go. Expect a few early offers in the weeks leading up to the sale too.

How good are Prime Day deals?

I’ve taken a look at a selection of the 2018 Prime Day offers from my Amazon order history and the deals I published here on the blog last year. Then using the price comparison site Camel Camel Camel I’ve worked out whether the prices charged then were decent or not.

A quick caveat. Camel Camel Camel’s price history doesn’t include Prime Day or Lightening Deal prices. So there’s a chance lower prices have occurred. Even so, the site gives us a good indication of the usual selling prices. More on Camel Camel Camel further down the article.

Bonus offers

First some generic deals which I’ll call bonus offers. These aren’t product specific but can boost the savings you make. If these are repeated this year then I think they or similar can be well worth getting. Last year I got:

  • Free £10 extra when buying an £80 Amazon gift card
  • £15 off a £60 spend via Amazon Student
  • £20 Amazon gift card for opening an Amazon cashback credit card
  • Extra money off an Amazon Pantry order (I can’t recall exactly what it was)
  • £1.99 HD movie rentals

There were also deals such as half price Audible membership for a year and 20% off Amazon Warehouse purchases. Be wary of cheap trials (such as last year’s four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for 99p) that you cancel before you get charged full price.

Amazon devices

Some of the biggest discounts are for Amazon’s own devices, such as the Echo smart speaker and Fire tablets. Though these are discounted all through the year the biggest savings do seem to be on Prime Day and Black Friday.

Here are a handful of the devices with the 2018 Prime Day price, the current selling price on Amazon and the lowest price in the last 12 months on Amazon.

Amazon Echo

  • Prime Day price: £59.99
  • Current price: £89.99
  • Lowest price: £54.99 (Black Friday and Christmas sales)

Echo Dot price history on Amazon July 2018 to June 2019

 

Fire HD 10 tablet

  • Prime Day price: £99.99
  • Current price: £149.99
  • Lowest price: £99.99 (Black Friday)

Fire HD 10 Tablet price history on Amazon July 2018 to June 2019

So though the Echo was cheaper later in the year, and the Fire HD tablet was available at the same price, the graphs show that the Prime Day prices were pretty good. I’d be confident buying an Amazon device on Prime Day and knowing the price was one of the lowest you will find.

I also had a look at the prices for other devices including the 4K Fire TV stick, Kindle Paperwhite, Echo Dot and Echo Show. All were heavily discounted on Prime Day. But all had newer models released in the autumn, which were then available at similar or lower prices in Black Friday sales. So there is the risk that you’ll be picking up a soon-to-be older model if there are further upgrades on models later in the year.

My purchases in 2018

Of course, it’s not just Amazon products on sale. There will be thousands of items listed over the Prime Day sale, making it near impossible to see them all, let alone work out whether it’s a good price or not.

Still, last year I did buy a number of things, and at the time I checked the price history to see whether the discounts seemed good or not. Here’s how they’ve fared in the 12 months since. Again, there could have been some subsequent lightening sale reductions which matched or bettered the prices. You can click the headers to see Amazon’s page on each product.

Bristan showerhead

  • Prime Day price: £170.19
  • Current price: £205.99
  • Lowest price: £143.54

Bristan shower head Amazon price history July 2018 to June 2019

So as you can see, I could have paid less on four occasions but only for short periods of time – I’d guess 7 days in total. For the rest of the year the amount I paid was around 10 to 15% lower than the usual price.

As it happened our building work which was due to be start last summer only kicked off earlier this year, so I didn’t need to get the shower head back in July, but with most purchases like this you wouldn’t wait and it was a good price going into Prime Day.

Hive heating and water smart thermostat with installation

  • Prime Day price: £124.99
  • Current price: £183.99
  • Lowest price: £139.99 (Black Friday)

Hive smart thermostat Amazon Price history July 2018 to June 2019

Here my Prime Day purchase seems to have been unbeatable. Though there have been discounts throughout the year, none were as huge as my saving.

TP-Link wi-fi extender

  • Prime Day price: £74.99
  • Current price: £86.80
  • Lowest price: £69.99 (June 2019)

TP-Link Wi-fi extender Amazon Price history July 2018 to June 2019

This item seems to have gradually been falling in price since Christmas, no doubt partly because tech often depreciates in value. Still it was something I needed to help improve some poor wi-fi and the price I paid at the time was still the best until 11 months later.

Hand luggage digital scales

  • Prime Day price: £6.07
  • Current price: £7.99
  • Lowest price: £4.99

This is the impulse purchase I made last year not really knowing if I’d use it or whether the price was any good. Well I have used it, so it was worth buying, and it’s only been cheaper once. Of course, with items like this there could very well have been something practically identical for less. Still, I’m happy with the price I got.

Hive smart light bulb

  • Prime Day price: £12.99
  • Current price: £18.99
  • Lowest price: £11.99 (Black Friday)

Hive smart bulb Amazon Price history July 2018 to June 2019

Finally, I picked up two Hive smart light bulbs (this is the price for one).  It’s hardly been discounted on Amazon since Christmas, and certainly not to the price I paid.

Conclusions

As you can see, the prices I paid and those on Amazon devices weren’t always the lowest over the last year. It’s always frustrating when something is cheaper in a subsequent sale (hello my new Made.com table which had £150 knocked off it days after we had it delivered).

However the prices were all very strong at the time. Any similar or bigger reductions over the following 12 months were few and far between. For most of the year the items were all on sale at much higher prices, and it’s unlikely I’d have waited to make these purchases four months later at Black Friday.

Plus, stacked with those bonus deals such as the extra credit when buying a gift card, I managed to pay even less, making Prime Day probably cheaper for the items I got than any other day of the year.

So on this basis, I’d say Prime Day deals are likely to be decent deals. Of course, I’ve only looked at a fraction of what was on sale last year. So you need to do some quick research.

Don’t trust the RRP – it’s rarely the real selling price. Instead, as detailed below, use price history to see what your real discount is. Essentially you’re looking for

  • a discount bigger than the usual selling price
  • items that aren’t constantly reduced
  • something which isn’t about to be replaced by a newer version – bigger discounts could be on the way
  • a price you’re happy to pay
  • something you actually want and need

How to find the best prices

As you’ll see from the graphs above, there are tools to help you work out whether a deal really is a deal. Here’s my pick of what you can use.

Check price history

The strangely named Camel Camel Camel is what I’ve used for the price history charts. It’s essential for helping decide whether to buy on Amazon now or wait.

You can also use it to set price alerts for when items hit a level you want to pay, though as I mentioned it doesn’t include Lightning Deals or Prime Day prices, which is a shame.

Look for price matching

Though the Prime Day prices will only be available to Prime members (remember you can get that free trial if you aren’t already, or just sign up for one month at £7.99) I’d expect other retailers to match prices or even offer their own deals to try to get some money spent with them rather than with the US giant.

It’s worth using Idealo, Price Spy or even just Google shopping to see how much what you’re thinking of buying is going for elsewhere. And don’t forget to see if you can stack other codes and savings on top!

Use other Amazon tricks

Take a read of this article for more ways to pay less at Amazon or get those lightning deals before everyone else.

Tricks to save more money at Amazon

Pick of the 2019 Prime Day deals

I’ll update on my regularly updated Amazon Deals page all the top offers I spot when the sale kicks off so bookmark this page and come back on the 15th and 16th July.

Amazon vouchers & deals (July 2019): inc £20 off Prime, £5 gift card and top up bonus

Is Amazon Prime worth the money?

Here’s my review of Prime, sharing what you get for your subscription.

Amazon Prime review: Is it worth the money?


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