March 2, 2024

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Specialists in technology

Amazon’s Prime Day is the latest shake-up to the tech calendar

amazon / Getty Images / WIRED

No iPhone launch in September, next-gen console confusion, Google Pixels announced three months in advance and now an Amazon Prime Day sale in October. Like, well, everything else, the tech calendar has never seen anything like coronavirus.

The construction of a tech ‘calendar’ of expos, launches and sales, particularly over the past decade or so, has helped to shift products by building a reliable cycle of hype and supply. CES in January, MWC in February, E3 in June, IFA and Apple launches in September, Black Friday in November etc etc. Like clockwork.

The first Prime Day, Amazon’s one-day sale to drive subscriptions to its Prime membership scheme, took place on 15 July, 2015 and it has always been a summer sale since then. In 2018, it was 36 hours long and last year, it lasted two full days.

This year, it’s two days again – from midnight (well, 00.01) on Tuesday 13 October to midnight (23.59) on Wednesday 14 October. Unlike Black Friday, it’s open to both Prime members and anyone who signs up for a 30-day free trial.

With so many major devices delayed this year, it’ll be curious to see how many recent mainstream releases are discounted so soon after launch. Case in point: Tuesday 13 October is also the current most popular date circulating the internet for Apple’s delayed iPhone 12 launch event. How long the release date scramble will last, and what long-term effects it will have – will smartphone makers drop their one/two/three-a-year schedule? – are unclear.

There’s also the logistics to think of. Many retailers, including Amazon, have been reported as raising concerns about shipping volumes between now and the end of December. So expect to see a bigger push from John Lewis, Currys, Argos and the rest in October and the first half of November too. Last minute shopping might be riskier than usual, too. Ultra-cynically, retailers may even be hoping to catch sales that they may not be guaranteed to make in a mater of weeks as recessions deepen around the world.

For Prime Day, the only thing you really need to know is that Amazon is guaranteeing the prices of products won’t go any lower in Black Friday or Christmas sales, though they may repeat: “Throughout Prime Day, members can shop with confidence that they’re getting low prices that won’t be beaten this year.”

Amazon typically offers the lowest prices on the web regardless – partly down to its sheer scale and partly down to its business practices – and last year Prime Day and Black Friday prices were identical or very similar, and the lowest the WIRED team saw all year. To start doing your research early, check out WIRED Recommends for accessible, comprehensive reviews.

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