Even as consumer spending has slowed amid the coronavirus crisis, e-commerce sales are soaring — largely thanks to Amazon.
Prime Day, which was originally slated for July but postponed due to the pandemic, is turning into one of the biggest shopping events of the year. The 48-hour sales event runs through Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Over the course of two days, more than 1 million items will be discounted, according to the retail giant, including intermittent "Lightning Deals," for Prime members.
"There is always one thing everybody goes for," said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com, of the two-day shopping event.
Last year, it was the Amazon coat, Crest Whitestrips and 23andMe. This year, it will likely be geared toward people staying in, she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if it was a fire pit."
Other top contenders include iRobot Roomba or Shark vacuums and the always popular Instant Pot.
Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, said she is betting on smart home devices, televisions, laptops, hand tools and appliances.
Already, the Toshiba 32-inch Smart HD Fire TV is marked down more than 30% to $119.99, while Levi's, Barbie and Hot Wheels toys, and Dewalt and Craftsman tools will all be 40% off, according to Amazon.
Not surprisingly, Amazon devices, such as the Ring Video Doorbell or Kindle, will also be deeply discounted, with 45% off Fire tablets and the Echo Dot marked down 60% to $18.99.
Typically, about 40% of the deals on Prime Day are home- and garden-related, according to Ramhold.
That may prove even more desirable now that Americans are spending much more time at home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
To best navigate Prime Day, Ramhold advises shoppers to download the Amazon app and scroll through upcoming deals, then mark the items you are interested in as "watching" — you'll receive a notification when the price drops.
When a deal is live, add the item to your cart immediately. Some Lightning Deals can sell out quickly, Skirboll said. Once it is in your cart, you'll have 15 minutes to decide whether to complete the purchase.
"Amazon Prime Day's best bargains are available in limited quantities," she said. "As a Prime member, you'll get advance notice, but if it's one of those 4K big-screen TVs you're after or a Nintendo Switch, be ready to pounce before they're all gone."
If there is a specific product that you are set on and you don't see it in upcoming sales, you can create a wish list and Amazon will alert you if it does become part of a Prime Day deal.
Other retailers are also starting holiday deals as early as October and extending them throughout the holiday season.
Target announced its own sales event — Target Deal Days — during the same two-day period. It said it will have more than double the digital deals it offered last year on electronics, beauty items, toys and more.
Walmart said it will feature Black Friday-like savings during its "Big Save Event," which starts the evening of Oct. 11 and runs through Oct. 15. The deals will include $50 off of a Pioneer Woman 6-quart Instant Pot and a 55-inch JVC 4K HDR Roku Smart TV for $248.