What is Amazon Prime Day? Everything you need to know and what to expect this July

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Big retail sales are no longer limited to a thinly veiled partnership with major US holidays. In fact, many retailers have created their own "holidays;" Nordstrom has its popular Anniversary Sale. Nike has Air Max Day. And of course, the online behemoth Amazon has Prime Day.
Introduced in 2015 in part to celebrate Amazon's 20th anniversary, the first Amazon Prime Day was a one-day-only retail holiday that sought to overtake Black Friday as the sales event of the year.

The inaugural Amazon rime Day received some criticism from shoppers who weren't happy with the quality and quantity of deals offered, but Amazon has stepped up its game in both realms since, and to great success. Amazon Prime Day 2018 was the biggest shopping day in company history until it was surpassed by Cyber Monday shortly after, a familiar pattern of record-breaking that it has experienced in years prior.

The fact that Amazon's seemingly unshakable site crashed mere minutes after launching Prime Day 2018 suggests similarly record-breaking numbers this year (though fingers crossed shoppers won't be met with the same error pages of apologetic puppies). The traffic is bolstered by prices that are their lowest ever, besting even Black Friday on popular items like tech, beauty, home and kitchen, and virtually every other category under the sun.

Prime Day has also been made available in more countries outside the US every year. In 2017, it was extended to Canada, the UK, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Belgium, and Austria, and in 2018 to Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The number of Prime subscribers surpassed 100 million people across the globe last year.

If you plan on shopping on Amazon Prime Day 2019 this year, we'll be compiling the best deals here. While it's still a few months away, the Insider Picks team is already preparing so you can save money and time on the big day.

Amazon has not yet announced the dates of Prime Day 2019, and typically doesn't do so until late June or early July, but it's highly likely it will fall around the same time this year and last 36 hours, if not longer. Amazon Prime Day as we know it is a global shopping event where Prime members can shop hundreds of thousands of deals sitewide, with new deals starting as often as every five minutes. This year should feature more than 1 million deals worldwide.

Amazon Prime Day 2018 began at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, July 16, and ran for 36 hours through Tuesday, July 17. It featured thousands of dollars of discounts on a range of products, from cult-favorites like the Instant Pot DUO60 ($40+ off) and Roomba robot vacuum ($120 off) to innovative products from small businesses.

In the US, best sellers were the Instant Pot, 23andMe DNA Test, and somewhat surprisingly, LifeStraw personal water filters. Business Insider readers in particular took advantage of $1 to $5 Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Amazon Music Unlimited memberships; noise-cancelling headphones from Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser; and a variety of Amazon devices.

It's not surprising our readers loved Amazon devices. Historically, Amazon Prime Day is the best time of the year to buy one.

In the past, the company has offered double the deals on Amazon devices and the biggest deals yet on Alexa-enabled products like the Echo smart speakers, the Fire TV, and Fire tablets.

In September 2018, Amazon introduced 12 new Alexa-enabled products, including upgraded versions of best sellers like the Echo Dot and Echo Plus speaker, along with all-new products that improve the way shoppers enjoy entertainment and live at home. Though these tech accessories haven't been around for long, we think they may enjoy some discounts on Amazon Prime Day 2019.

Outside of physical device deals, expect deals on Amazon services and memberships like entertainment (Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Video, Audible, etc.) and grocery shopping (Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry, Whole Foods, etc.).

It sounds counterintuitive, but Amazon Prime Day is also a great time to shop everywhere except Amazon.

Plenty of other online retailers throw competing sales around Prime Day. If you'd rather hop over to Amazon for tech and Nordstrom for a new wardrobe, you're in luck, because they could both be courting you come mid-July.
However, Amazon's perks like fast shipping remain, making Prime Day more often than not the winner in a competition of price and convenience.

If you still have lingering questions, we'll be updating our guide to the most frequently asked questions about the day soon.

The most obvious tidbit is that you should sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial if you're not already a member so you can take advantage of the deals.

If you plan on shopping this year, we'll have you covered from nearly every point of entry, having combed through thousands of deals to cherry-pick the ones you won't want to miss.

Check back at this link (or bookmark it) for easy access to the best deals as they pop up on Amazon Prime Day 2019 and to learn about any updates as Prime Day 2019 approaches. For a refresher on the types of deals you'll be able to shop, visit our Amazon Prime Day 2018 page.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.