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If the latest price hike on Amazon’s Prime membership service didn’t scare you away, you’re in for a sales spectacular come Prime Day. Here’s what you need to know about its return in 2022.

What is Prime Day?

Prime Day is an annual sitewide sale that Amazon puts on for its Prime members. First held in 2015 in honor of Amazon’s 20th anniversary (with mixed success), it was originally plugged as a “one-day-only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe.” In the years since, it’s morphed into a 48-hour extravaganza that’s preceded by a week or so of teaser deals. “Prime Day” is probably a misnomer at this point.

When is Prime Day 2022?

There’s yet to be an official announcement about this year’s dates, though Amazon’s first quarter earnings report stealthily confirmed that “Prime Day will take place in July in more than 20 countries” in 2022. This is a return to its usual schedule after two years of adjustments: Amazon bumped it back to October in 2020 because of the pandemic (which made for an extra-long holiday shopping season), then moved it up to June because of the Olympics in 2021.

Given Amazon’s historical preference for Monday/Tuesday and Tuesday/Wednesday slots (h/t CNET), we can safely predict that Prime Day will probably happen between July 11-13 or 18-20. Stay tuned to see how that pans out; Amazon typically drops the news a few weeks ahead of time, and we’ll update this post as soon as that happens.

What will be the best Prime Day deals?

Prime Day is Amazon’s favorite excuse to discount its own devices, so expect to see a ton of deals on Echo smart speakers and displays, Fire tablets, Kindles, and Blink- and Ring-branded security equipment. Older gadgets will be super cheap, especially if you buy them in bundles, while everything from Amazon’s most recent product launch will probably get some new all-time low pricing — that includes the Smart Thermostat, Echo Show 15 wall-mounted display, Halo View fitness tracker, and Glow projector/video-calling device. (No promises on the Amazon Astro robot or flying Ring Always Home Cam, though: Both are still invite-only products.) Prime Day will also be your chance to score some discounted rates on in-house services like Amazon Music Unlimited and Audible Plus.

Other usual Prime Day suspects include 4K OLED TVs, robot vacuums, headphones, earbuds, and basically every Apple product under the Sun. (Amazon’s been going ham on iMac, MacBook, iPad, AirPod, and Apple Watch deals ever since the Peek Performance event in March, so the pressure’s on for some extra-good Prime Day offers.) Discounts on Instant Pots are a given, too, though they probably won’t sell as fast as they have during Prime Days past now that air fryers have become everyone’s kitchen gadget of choice.

The dawn of Peloton’s flop era should shake things up on the home fitness side of things. Competitive deals on exercise bike alternatives from brands like NordicTrack and Echelon are definitely in the Prime Day forecast. We’ll also be on the lookout for sales on treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, smart mirrors, and adjustable dumbbells, just in case you never got around to renewing your Equinox membership after the lockdowns.

Gaming deals will probably pop off more than they have in recent years thanks to big new releases like Elden Ring, Horizon Forbidden West, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Nintendo Switch Sports, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus. (Prime Day would be a great opportunity for Mr. Bezos to restock the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, too — wink wink, nudge nudge.) The same goes for discounts on pet tech, toys, and supplies; the Amazon Pet Day sale in early May was probably a sampling of what’s to come.

Wish list-wise, it would be nice to see some decent Prime Day discounts on camping gear — that way, outdoorsy folks have an opportunity to upgrade their tents, sleeping bags, hammocks, stoves, and other equipment before the usual end-of-season clearance sales in August and September. Deals on the TikTok-famous products from Amazon’s Internet Famous storefront would also be a fun Prime Day addition, if only so no one has to pay full price for that goddamn $350 toaster.

Who else is competing with Prime Day?

For the first time ever, Walmart hosted its own version of Prime Day this year: Walmart+ Weekend. The sitewide sale from June 2 to 5 featured juicy offers that were available exclusively to Walmart+ members, including $200 off the 2020 iPad Airs, a $49 Keurig, and several Xbox Series S bundles. No word yet on whether the big box store is reviving The Big Save, a separate event that’s exactly coincided with Prime Day in years past, but it probably won’t be able to resist another opportunity to take a slice of Amazon’s pie.

Other retailers like Best Buy, Target, and even ebay have also hosted anti-Prime Day in years past, and we’ll almost certainly see a repeat of those in 2022.

Prime Day versus Black Friday: When’s the best time to shop?

Black Friday has been (and likely always will be) the biggest shopping event of the year for several reasons: One, because you’ve got lots of different retailers participating both in stores and online. Two, because nobody’s sales are paywalled behind a membership fee. And three, because it always falls right before everyone’s holiday gift exchanges. It’s basically open season for deal-hunting.

More recently, many retailers have also taken it upon themselves to expand Black Friday into a monthlong event, releasing teaser deals weeks ahead of time and extending them through Cyber Monday in an ongoing quest to one-up each other. (“Black Friday” is a misnomer, too.) Walmart set the stage for an especially competitive Black Friday last year when it released the first of its deals in mid-October, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it made a habit of it going forward.

That being said, it’ll probably be easier to find a deal on something specific come Prime Day. With Amazon as the self-appointed star of the show, you don’t need to be comparing prices across retailers and parsing through different ad scans. You definitely don’t need to get off the couch to do any in-person shopping. And aside from a few stragglers, you can pretty much guarantee that its offers will strictly adhere to the two-day time slot. It’s way more contained compared to the chaos of Black Friday; it won’t leave you feeling as shopped-out.

The only semi-stressful part of Prime Day is staying on top of its time-sensitive Lightning Deals (or flash sales), which tend to sell out fast, but Amazon gives you a couple different ways of figuring out when they’ll drop.

Prime Day shopping tips and tricks

Aside from aggressively lurking on Amazon’s dedicated Prime Day page (and reading our coverage of the sale), there are several ways to ensure you don’t miss out on a great deal:

  1. Organize your Wish List. Amazon’s virtual shopping list feature puts all of your must-haves in one convenient spot so you’re not constantly flipping between links and tabs; you can even rank items based on how much you want them. Once Prime Day rolls around, you’ll be able to see which ones are on sale at a glance. (Read Mashable’s guide to “wishlisting” for more intel.)

  2. Download the Amazon mobile app. You can activate push notifications to get alerted whenever an item on your Wish List goes on sale.

  3. Sort Amazon’s Deals page by “Upcoming” (found at the very top of the left-hand column). That’ll pull up a grid of deals that are happening in the near future, with exact start times listed for each. Mark your calendar accordingly.

  4. Take advantage of Alexa’s new advanced deal alerts feature. This one’s really cool: Amazon’s virtual assistant can now notify you of a sale on an item in your Wish List, Shopping Cart, or “Saved for Later” queue up to 24 hours before it goes live. Enable the feature on a newer generation Echo smart speaker, and you’ll see its light ring turn yellow (or a pop-up alert) whenever an item you’ve saved has a discount in the pipeline. You can then ask Alexa for more information about the deal, have her set a reminder for when it’s available, and even give her permission to order it for you using your default payment info when the time comes.

  5. Cross-check prices on camelcamelcamel. You can plug any Amazon URL into this free price-tracking site to see how much it’s gone for over the weeks/months/years, which will give you a good idea of whether a discount you see is actually worth it. (Note that this may not work on every Lightning Deal.) It also gives lets you create a price watch for individual items — say, if you’re hoping the new Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones dip under the $400 mark.

How to sign up for Amazon Prime

Anyone who hasn’t been an Amazon Prime member within the past 12 months can sign up for a free 30-day trial by following these steps:

  1. Visit amazon.com/prime.

  2. Click on the orange button that says “Start your free 30-day trial.”

  3. Sign in or create an Amazon account.

  4. Add a payment method and a billing address. (Don’t worry — you won’t be charged.)

  5. Click the yellow button that says “Activate your free trial.”

After your trial period ends, you’ll automatically be upgraded to a paid membership plan for $14.99 per month or $139 per year. Pro tip: The latter saves you just over $40 annually.

Getting your degree? Anyone with a .edu email address can take advantage of a free six-month trial that converts to a $7.49-a-month paid tier under the Prime Student program. (You can ride out that rate for four years or until graduation, whichever comes first.) As a member, you’re entitled to several bonus offers on top of the standard Prime perks:

EBT and Medicaid cardholders also quality for a discounted monthly rate of $6.99 — you just have to verify your eligibility every 12 months.

Is Amazon Prime worth it?

Prime’s current annual rate is the result of a 17% price bump earlier this spring (from $119 to $139), which wasn’t totally unexpected: Amazon has increased it by $20 every four years since 2014. But that higher cost is undoubtedly harder to swallow after two years of a pandemic that made us ultra-reliant on deliveries — especially when Walmart’s rival service hovers at just $98 a year.

That being said, $139 is still a decent value for all of the perks a Prime membership includes if you’re someone who does most of their shopping online. Subscribers get free two-day (or faster) shipping on millions of items, plus exclusive access to the Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Gaming, and Prime Reading libraries and unlimited photo storage with Amazon Photos. Amazon also offers special discounts on items to its members beyond Prime Day, including early access to Lightning Deals. (For more tips on how maximize all the perks of a Prime membership, click here.)

But there is a way to shop this year’s Prime Day deals without committing to a Prime membership, and that’s by scheduling your 30-day free trial around the sale. We recommend activating it a week ahead of time so you can take advantage of any early offers; just remember to cancel as soon as the sale is over to avoid getting charged.

This story has been updated.

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