Amazon Prime Day 2020: September date, and a 'Summer Sale' too?

Amazon Prime Day 2020 has moved from its traditional July date. Here's what you need to know about this year's event

Amazon Prime Day 2020
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Prime Day 2020 is the next sale in the retail giant's annual Prime Day event, following Amazon Prime Day 2019 which took place last July. That 'day' actually lasted 48 hours, which is a bit of a stretch of the definition of a day, but we're not complaining because it gave us more time to shop for some great deals.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 kicked off at one minute past midnight on Monday 15 July and ended at midnight on Tuesday 16 July and, as Amazon had promised ahead of the event there were millions of items on offer for Prime subscribers and the best ever prices on many Amazon devices such as the Echo Dot, Kindles, Fire TV sticks and Fire tablets.

So what's in store for Amazon Prime Day 2020? When is it, will it actually happen this year, and if it does, then what deals can we expect?

When is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

This year, the Amazon Prime Day 2020 date will be in September, according to a new report. My prediction is that it will start on Monday September 7, 2020.

I think Prime Day will fall early in the month as Amazon will want to keep it as far from Black Friday as possible both to give more time for Black Friday planning and to space the two events out to avoid people getting sale fatigue.

That September is the new month for Prime Day comes from The Wall Street Journal, which says that Amazon is "taking a number of steps to return to pre-pandemic business operations, including scheduling its annual Prime Day shopping promotion for the fall."

At the start of the year my prediction was that Amazon Prime Day 2020 would start on Monday July 6, 2020, and run through to the end of Tuesday July 7, 2020. However, things are looking very different this year.

Why did I originally predict those July dates? A 48-hour Prime Day sale period seems like a given, when you consider that Amazon Prime Day 2018 was a day-and-a-half of deals and Amazon Prime Day 2019 lasted for a full two days.

In terms of why I felt Amazon Prime Day could fall a week earlier this year than it did last year: Amazon's competitors were no doubt planning their 'Prime Day alternative' sales for Monday July 13 and Tuesday July 14 in anticipation of Amazon Prime Day(s) running at the same time, so it seemed likely that Amazon might go a week earlier to get a head start. Also, Amazon would not be without form here: in previous years Prime Day did start earlier in the month.

But of course, this is not a normal year and so a delayed Amazon Prime Day seems almost certain.

Will Amazon Prime Day 2020 be delayed?

Almost certainly. On March 27, 2020, leaked emails obtained by Business Insider suggested that Amazon Prime Day was still going ahead in July as usual, but you'd have to wonder where all the sale products were going to come from since many factories have either shut down or are running at reduced capacity.

Then on April 3 Reuters reported that Amazon Prime Day would be delayed, "until at least August". Reuters said that it had seen internal meeting notes confirming the likely delay.

That was followed by a report on the WSJ which said that Amazon Prime Day will take place in September. That's probably about as late as Prime Day can slip as it's getting very close to Black Friday 2020 at that point. For that reason, I would expect Prime Day to be in early, rather than late, September.

The WSJ adds that Amazon is "allowing unlimited shipments of nonessential goods to warehouses" which allows it to prepare "for shipments of a wider variety of products".

So August or September seem like the most likely dates for Amazon Prime Day 2020 (I'm going with September) but there is one more possible scenario – that Amazon Prime Day 2020 just gets cancelled altogether, which is what I think will happen if Prime Day does not take place in August or September.

Watch this space...

Will there be an Amazon sale before the postponed Prime Day?

According to a report in the New York Times, which cites an audio recording of an internal meeting at Amazon, Amazon is planning a "Summer Sale" to "let brands sell excess inventory."

The newspaper says that while Amazon's sales have grown in the last couple of months, some of its competitors have grown more as Amazon struggled to fulfil orders. So a Summer Sale would be Amazon's attempt to woo back customers who have gone to other retailers.

Amazon has not responded to this story either to confirm or deny it, but given that many other retailers are no doubt planning their traditional July sales, it seems quite feasible that Amazon would want to jump in with a sale of its own.

What will the best Amazon Prime Day 2020 deals be?

If Amazon Prime Day goes ahead this year it's almost guaranteed that Amazon will discount its own devices heavily – and if 2019 is anything to go by some of those discounts will appear in the weeks leading up to Prime Day 2020 and some will continue after Prime Day has ended but the lowest prices will be reserved for Prime Day itself.

As happened on Black Friday 2019, we'd expect the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock to be a) heavily discounted for Prime Day and b) a hugely popular purchase as a result. For Black Friday 2019 it dropped from £59.99 down to £34.99 so if we're lucky we might see it selling for £29.99 over the Prime Day sale period this year. And even if it doesn't drop that low, it's almost certain it will at least match its Black Friday 2019 £34.99 sale price.

As for the Echo Dot WITHOUT a clock? That dropped to £22 for Prime Day 2019 and it dropped to £22 again for Black Friday 2019, so deal hunters will be looking to see if it hits a new £20 low this year.

Prime Day 2020 should also be an great time for anyone looking to snap up the current generation consoles – the PS4 and the Xbox One. That's because the PS5 and new Xbox Two will be coming in time for Christmas 2020 so you can expect stock of the current consoles to get some hefty price cuts in the months leading up to the release of the new consoles. That should please gamers as console deals were rather thin on the ground over Prime Day 2019 and Black Friday 2019.

What sold well on Amazon Prime Day 2019?

We know from our own data that Amazon devices were hugely popular over Prime Day 2019, which is hardly surprising given the massive price drops they saw. The Echo Show hit its cheapest ever price, so that was a big hit in the sale as was the Echo Dot, which hit a £22 Prime Day low (and that price has not been beaten since). 

Shop today's best Amazon deals

Other products that proved popular were 4K TVs, coffee machines, headphones and fitness bands.

According to Amazon, Prime members worldwide purchased more than 175 million items throughout Prime Day, making it the largest shopping event in Amazon history. Top-selling deals in the US included iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum, MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener Chamberlain MYQ-G0301, and Amazon Smart Plug. Top selling deals worldwide were Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

We also have some interesting data about Prime Day 2019 from market intelligence firm Numerator who surveyed Prime Day 2019 shoppers to get a picture of how the event went.

We know that shoppers looking to buy into the Amazon ecosystem (that's Amazon devices like the Echo, Kindle, Fire TV sticks and tablets and Ring Video Doorbells) were offered some really good deals. According to Numerator, the depth of discount on Amazon ecosystem products averaged 45% this year, compared to 37% in 2018. Echo, Fire TV, and Kindle products were all offered at the deepest discounts seen to-date. Additionally, Alexa-enabled products averaged a slightly higher discount of 32%, and many deals on these products – like an Alexa-enabled Instant Pot – included the Echo or Echo Dot as a bundled package.

In relation to other retail holidays, Numerator found that this Prime Day 2019 shoppers ranked Prime Day #2 in terms of deal quality, behind Black Friday and ahead of Cyber Monday. In 2018, Prime Day ranked below both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of perceived deal quality, so 2019’s shake-up proves Prime Day’s growing popularity. 

Numerator adds that  for 36% of Prime Day shoppers, 2019 was their first time shopping Prime Day – that’s down from 2018's year’s 44%, but still a significant number of newcomers to the day of deals. 58% of Prime Day shoppers participated in 2018 as well, and 12% of this 2019’s shoppers participated in the first ever Prime Day back in 2015, showing that Amazon has succeeded not only in attracting first-timers, but also in maintaining loyal enthusiasts. 

Hitwise provided further information as to the success of Prime Day 2019, suggesting that it's a shopping event that Amazon is not going to abandon any time soon. According to the market intelligence firm, online visits, transactions, and sign-ups all spiked in key markets.

In the US Amazon's share of transactions among the top 50 retailers was 72% during the 2018 holiday season and rose to 86% on Prime Day. In the UK, Amazon’s focus was on growing the number of Prime subscribers, and it worked. Over 80,000 people signed up to Prime each day over the 48-hour period. That's a +147% rise compared to Prime Day 2018. 

Hitwise says that in the US, the Nintendo Switch was the most searched product, overtaking the still popular Instant Pot. Searches for the Ring doorbell grew significantly this year due to a deal which bundled it with the Echo Show (both Amazon products). In the UK, the Nintendo Switch was also the top searched product followed by laptops, Fitbit, Audible and PS4. They weren't the most purchased Prime Day products, though: Hitwise said – as did Amazon – that the most purchased products in both the US and UK were Fire TV Sticks and Echo Dots, which is not surprising given the massive discounts they got.

Interestingly, it seems that the Amazon Prime Day effect extended to bricks and mortar stores, too. Placer Labs analyses footfall in locations such as shopping malls and retail outlets and it found that the offline impact of the Prime Day sale didn't just affect Amazon, where Amazon’s Whole Foods storesaw visits around 25% above what they were during summer 2018. Walmart saw higher than average in-store traffic over the Prime Day period as did Target and Best Buy. "If Prime Day 2019 is any indication, expect greater levels of crossover between offline and online pushes," Place Labs concludes. "And this doesn’t just mark a significant event for Amazon, but for the retail community as a whole."