What to Buy (and Skip) on Amazon Prime Day 2024

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Written by Tommy Tindall
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Edited by Courtney Neidel
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Amazon Prime Day is July 16-17. It’s like Black Friday, but in July and with less burden to buy for others.

Some people may already have holiday gift-buying in mind, but most are likely shopping for themselves, says Jane Boyd Thomas, a professor of marketing at Winthrop University.

More emphasis from retailers on summer deals has shifted trends on Google. “In recent years, searches for ‘deals’ have spiked in mid-July, even surpassing search interest in ‘vacation,’” said Sean Scott, vice president and general manager of consumer shopping at Google, in a blog announcing Google’s enhanced shopping tools. Its updated “deals destination” is intended to make it easier to shop for deals across retailers in one place.

Whether you start on Amazon or Google, the key is to nab deals on planned purchases over impulse buys. Keep this list in mind as you decide what to buy (or skip) on Prime Day.

Buy: Electronics

Thomas says electronics will be the best category for Prime Day deals, which will likely include Apple products. She chuckled when mentioning an Apple Pencil she recently paid full price for ($129.99), only to hear later that it’ll likely be cheaper on Prime Day. In fact, it is $79 on Amazon at the time of this writing, before Prime Day. AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) ear buds were down to $189.99 in late June (Apple’s price is $249, but Amazon regularly sells them for $199), and could go lower during the sale.

Select models of TVs, soundbars, speakers and other headphones should see deep discounts too. Amazon is already touting an invite-only deal of up to 40% off Sony wireless headphones. But be mindful that limited quantities on the hottest products could mean you have to act quickly.

My experience: I dropped the “bar” last Prime Day. I had coveted a particular model of Sony soundbar that normally sells for about $300 all year long. I saved it and waited for the price to drop. On Prime Day, it went down $100. But instead of getting it, I hesitated for a few hours, and when I decided to buy it, it was not only out of stock on Amazon but also at other retailers. I settled for a similarly priced but inferior model.

This year’s sale starts promptly at 12:01 a.m. PDT on July 16 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 17. The specific start and end times motivate people to buy on whim for fear of missing out, says Thomas.

But you can prep for Prime Day now, by making a list and checking your budget, to avoid overspending at crunch time.

Before you build a budget
NerdWallet breaks down your spending and shows you ways to save.

Buy: Car seats and strollers

Prime Day is likely to bring good deals on baby gear. NerdWallet monitored prices on a handful of popular products during every major sale of 2023. The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat we tracked went on sale often, but hit its lowest observed price during last year’s July Prime Day, coming in at $139.99. It’s $199.99 on Amazon at the time of this writing.

Thomas, a new grandmother, needs to get equipped to drive her granddaughter around.

The car seat base she needs typically goes for around $160, she says. “I'm going to put it in my wish list and set alerts, which you can do with Amazon, to let me know when it goes on sale,” she adds.

Strollers, cribs, pack-and-plays and other typically pricey baby products could hit lows during Prime Day. Last year, for example, the Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 All-Terrain Stroller was 40% off during Amazon’s sale.

Buy or skip: Amazon devices

Buying an Amazon device during Amazon’s biggest sale of the year is a no-brainer, but only if you’re in the market for one. Fire tablets and TV sticks, Kindles and Echo devices are all likely to be discounted. And many of the gadgets Amazon makes are pretty well-reviewed.

Of course, you can also wait. The next big Prime sale, which should come in October, is all but certain to bring similar prices on Amazon’s own tech.

My experience. I skipped both the July Prime Day and October Prime Big Deal Days last year and still got a great deal on the latest Echo Show 8 (3rd gen) smart display device, which wasn’t released until late in the year. I ordered mine on Dec. 28, 2023, for $60 off the normal price. It’s a good reminder that products are often refreshed and prices are constantly in flux.

Buy: Toys

If you are prepared enough to put a gift list together in July and have kids to buy for, sensory-type creative toys can be a good way to go. One of the best Prime Day deals NerdWallet spotted last year was on the Magna-Tiles Classic 100-Piece Set. Kids love them, and the set went down to $82.99 on Prime Day. The same set is $119.50 on Amazon at the time of this writing.

Thomas says Amazon is inclined to mark down already hot sellers to draw people in.

“I would look at things like gifts for children, scooters, Lego sets because those are things that are pretty steady sellers year-round for them,” she says.

Buy or skip: Small appliances

Kitchen gadgets are fair game for deals on Prime Day, but NerdWallet’s research shows Cyber Monday is better for deals on small appliances like air fryers, mixers and coffee makers. And for these items especially, don’t let Amazon be your only stop. Target, Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers will compete.

You could also wait and stumble upon a deal later, if you’re not quite ready to buy.

My experience: While at a friend’s house for dinner late last year, I couldn’t help but notice the side-by-side Instant Vortex Plus 6-quart XL Air Fryers they were using to cook the meal. The food was good, and the stainless look was slick. I got home, opened Amazon and saw the same model going for $74.15, about $55 off the normal price. I nabbed it on Nov. 5, 2023, a random Sunday. Moral of the story: good sales happen throughout the year if you’re not ready to buy now.

Nerdy reminders about online shopping

Doing the necessary product and price research should be second nature by now, but here’s a refresher on how to e-shop smartly.

Know the going rate: If you’re shopping on Amazon, it’s quick and easy to use a price-tracking site like camelcamelcamel to check the price history over time. Paste the Amazon URL in the camelcamelcamel search bar to view lowest-ever, highest-ever, current and average price.

Set your pounce price: Once you know the lowest price and how often the item is discounted, you can use your budget to set a price threshold. Once the price drops below that line, you've given yourself permission to buy.

Save it for later and set alerts: Set alerts to take the effort out of tracking prices. In the Amazon app, you can set deal alerts for items of interest by going to the account section, scrolling down to “message center” and tapping deal alerts.

Google it before you get it, or search “shop deals”: Amazon may be the loudest, but other retailers will quietly compete with Prime Day. A quick Google search of the specific product you’re after will let you compare prices, but you can go deeper with Google’s new “deals destination.” Type the words “shop deals'' into the search bar to view a carousel of products with recent price drops from across the web. Click on the product to view its typical price range based on averages over the past 90 days.

Check the seller: Amazon and other online sites typically flag whether a product is sold and shipped by it or by a third-party seller. You can take steps to avoid disappointing wares or third-party seller scams by checking out the seller, reading reviews of its goods and checking the site's refund policy.

Shopping online is easier than ever, and there are tricks and tools that can definitely help you save. But there's also a time-consuming and inescapable nature of online shopping. As we hit the peak of summer, don't let chasing the best deal keep you from things that matter most. Those things are probably free anyway.

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