What to Know
- Amazon said last year's Prime Day was a success, with 18 percent more orders placed that day than the previous Black Friday
- The online retailer said it would make Prime Day an annual event
- Some shoppers complained in 2015 that the deals were unimpressive
Amazon is renewing its "Prime Day" July sales gimmick, touting this year's day of deals as the "biggest Amazon event ever" as it competes with Walmart for dollars from online shoppers.
The e-commerce powerhouse launched the discounting event last year to commemorate its 20th anniversary and to advertise its $99 annual Prime loyalty program, which offers free two-day shipping, during sleepy summer shopping months. It said previously that Prime Day would be an annual event.
On July 12, Amazon will offer Prime members new deals as frequently as every five minutes -- more often than last year's Prime Day, which offered new deals every 10 minutes. Prime Day will include more than 100,000 offers across "nearly all departments and categories," CNBC reported.
The online retailer told CNBC that is the largest number of deals it has ever offered in one day. Discounts will start at 3 a.m.
It remains to be seen whether Amazon's event will be a hit or a bust. There was online grumbling last year that the deals were unimpressive, that deal items ran out too fast and were only available for a limited time.
Amazon said it was a success, with 18 percent more orders placed that day than the prior year's Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving that's typically the busiest day in retail. The company also said it got hundreds of thousands of new Prime signups.
(You have to have Prime to be eligible for deals. There's a 30-day free trial.)
Amazon's competitor, Walmart, announced its own discounting effort Wednesday to try to get ahead of Amazon. It will offer discounts throughout July on a host of products online. It is also offering a free 30-day trial on its two-day unlimited shipping service, and an extra month free for paying members.
Their efforts may prompt other retailers to launch deals. Prime Day last year spurred "Christmas in July"-type sales from Target, Macy's and Best Buy as well as Walmart.
Amazon doesn't release detailed numbers on Prime but says it has "tens of millions" of subscribers. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimates there are about 50 million. It's a key platform for Amazon because Prime members buy more than others. To attract subscribers, the company has added grocery delivery, one-hour delivery in some cities, more video streaming and a smart speaker called the Echo that syncs with Prime music.