This story is part of, CNET’s guide to everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.
Last year’s Amazon Prime Day TV ad featured geometric cartoon townspeople – who built their trucks, parade floats, and homes from Amazon delivery boxes – in a noisy parade, with a livery strip showing all the great deals on fashion, household electronics. In 2020, the backdrop is a suburban neighborhood where the same fictional characters are at home, socially distanced by watching a movie from a backyard projector or celebrating a new pajama shipment. Those in the street wear masks.
That’s right, even Amazonville appears to have been hit by the COVID-19 lockdown, highlighting what has completely changedit will be in 2020.
“Amazon in recent years, they’ve been promoting Prime Day as a celebration. It was rather an uplifting tone, ”said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert for retail site RetailMeNot. “This year will be different, it will be more convenient – more things people need and less things they want. ”
There are no regulations on how to organize a giant sales event invented by a company during a pandemic, but Amazon is getting there, withcoming Tuesday and Wednesday. He will need to set the tone for the grieving United States, social unrest and a bitter economy and a world struggling with the novel coronavirus. Consumers will quickly enjoy holiday shopping and hopefully have the opportunity to save on the items they need, like home work equipment, home entertainment, and maybe even toilet paper.
It will be an important opportunity for Amazon to show how it can help customers save money during an economic downturn and support small businesses on its platform while facing a series of antitrust investigations on the market. power that it wields over these very small businesses.
According to researcher eMarketer, Prime Day is also expected to be a huge revenue stream for the e-commerce juggernaut, grossing $ 9.9 billion globally in just 48 hours. That’s a 43% increase from last year and will mark the biggest Prime Day yet (although that record is broken every year).
But some of the biggest beneficiaries could end up being brick-and-mortar merchants, who are pushing their own sales to coincide with Prime Day in hopes of getting a financial boost during a difficult year filled with retail bankruptcies.
The biggest change to Prime Day this year is its timing. Selling typically takes place in the summer to support an otherwise sleepy retail season. This year, it has been postponed to October so that Amazon can respond to an increase in online orders during the pandemic and modernize its warehouses with new security protocols to protect its workers.
“This will translate into a different direction: de-emphasis products for the summer and back to school, and make the event a first stop for the holiday season,” said Andrew Lipsman, analyst at eMarketer.
Many retailers are expected to offer some of their lowest prices during Prime Day, RetailMeNot said, so they can increase holiday sales and try to steal customers from Amazon., Target and have already announced Black Friday-style discounts at the same time as Prime Day, making the sale the unofficial start of holiday shopping.
Retail experts recommend that customers shop early to avoid out-of-stock items, which will be particularly likely this year due to supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and delivery delays due to a increase in online shipments.
In a nod to the difficulty of 2020, Amazon is emphasizing its social conscience so that it can present Prime Day as a platform to help others and not just to sell mountains of Roombas and giant tubs of Vaseline. If you spend $ 10 on a small business on the Amazon site before Prime Day, the online retailer will give you $ 10 credit to spend during the sales event. Amazon also promotes Amazon Smile, its charitable function.
“That’s not the purpose of Prime Day,” Lipsman said of those efforts to give back. “I think the context is very different these days and they will need to be aware of that. ”
Chris McCabe, founder of sales consulting firm Amazon ecommerceChris and former Amazon employee, said Amazon would definitely benefit from Prime Day, but said the online seller has already seen increased sales all year round. Given that, he said, Amazon doesn’t really need to launch a big sale.
“In October, people are already shopping for Christmas, so you don’t need to increase sales,” he said. “Everything has been raised all year, all week, all month. “
Prime Day approaching so close to the holidays may take some of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday oomph as more and more shoppers shop for vacation early. But expect the holiday season sales to be still huge and offer plenty of discounts.
One of the reasons that customers might want to wait to buy during the holidays is that a hugeis still under negotiation and could be approved before the end of the year. Previous stimulus checks sent to Americans in April gave retailers and the economy a big boost, with consumers buying clothing, appliances, electronics and more.
Another, although uncertain due to a tense election and an unpredictable president, could have a big impact on Black Friday, which falls on November 27, if it arrives on time.
Once all sales are over and delivery boxes are open, we hope that on day one 2021, the people of Amazonville can safely step out for another exciting and confetti-filled parade along Bezos Boulevard. But for now, enjoy the pajamas.