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The summertime version of Black Friday is getting a sequel. Last summer, Amazon hosted the first-ever Prime Day—a one-day sales event with thousands of special deals available online only to Amazon Prime subscribers. The day was announced as a way to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary as an e-retailer, but we now have confirmation that it wasn’t a one-time deal: The company says the second edition of Prime Day will take place in mid-July just like last year, though Amazon hasn’t announced an actual date yet for Prime Day 2016.
An Amazon spokesperson told the industry publication InternetRetailer.com that another Prime Day would happen this summer, but that “we don’t have any details to share yet” regarding the precise day or the kinds of deals that online shoppers can expect.
This past spring, a letter sent from Amazon to vendors that sell merchandise on the site was posted at an Amazon Seller forum. In it, sellers were asked to respond with submissions for “Lightning Deals” that Amazon would consider for inclusion in the forthcoming 2016 Prime Day. “Prime Day is coming again in mid-July, and you’re invited to participate by offering Lightning Deals,” the Amazon letter stated. “For Prime Day, we will choose seller deals that provide the best value to customers. Great products. Great prices.”
Last year, Prime Day was held on July 15—a Tuesday. If Amazon goes with a Tuesday again this year, Prime Day could perhaps be July 12 or July 19. If the company sticks with July 15 as the date for Prime Day in 2016, it would be a Friday. It’s all speculation at this point because, like so many issues, Amazon is remaining quiet on this one until it’s good and ready.
Read Next: How Walmart Beat Amazon on Amazon Prime Day
The first Amazon Prime Day was hyped as having “more deals than Black Friday.” All the attention enticed Walmart to launch its own mid-summer sales event. What’s particularly interesting is that while Amazon dreamed up the concept, shoppers seem to have thought that Walmart did a better job in terms of having good prices on products people wanted. By contrast, many consumers bashed Amazon for all of the random bizarre products it featured on Prime Day 2015, and for having mediocre prices and a very limited supply of many items.
Regardless, Amazon gave the impression that Prime Day 2015 was a runaway success. The company said that Prime Day sales surpassed those of Black Friday, and that it signed up the most-ever new Prime subscribers on the day. Prime subscriptions are incredibly lucrative for Amazon, as members tend to spend vastly more money on Amazon than non-members.
As for whether Prime Day 2016—whenever it happens—will be worth your while as a bargain-hunting shopper, we all have to wait and see. Critics have a long list of ways that Amazon could improve Prime Day, mainly focused on changing the day into less of a random crapshoot by somehow making it easier to find and buy the deals that most interest them.
Analysts think that Amazon has absorbed the feedback from last year and will indeed make some improvements. “Amazon is being much more selective this year with the products they’ll promote on Prime Day so that they can work on providing a better customer experience this time around,” CPC Strategy account manager Jeff Coleman said. Still, “despite Amazon’s best efforts, there are going to be plenty of stock outs on promoted items.” From the seller’s point of view, there will be “plenty of opportunities to attract new customers that come to the site after the item they want has stocked out, or that come just looking for a deal,” Coleman said. That could be quite annoying for deal hunters and potentially costly for impulsive shoppers.
A dealnews.com story on what shoppers can expect on Prime Day 2016 noted that one kind of sale is a sure thing: “While many of the Prime Day deals will be a surprise, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be solid discounts on Amazon-brand products, especially anything new they’re trying to hook customers on.”