Amazon Prime Day sales frenzy kicks off
NEW YORK — Happy Amazon Prime Day.
Like New Year’s Eve fireworks displays, Amazon’s second annual global Prime Day rolled out at midnight on Tuesday.
The 24-hour sale kicked off in Japan. The company, to stir up summertime shopping mania, is offering deals in 10 countries on a wide variety of products — electronics, kitchen appliances, jewelry, apparel. Lots of stuff.
In Japan, Amazon’s Fire TV stick and tablets are on sale, along with toys like Lego products. Pasta sauce costs ¥340 or $3.31.
In addition to Japan and the United States, Prime Day is being held in the U.K., Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Austria.
Amazon highlighted some of the thousands of deals on sale in America.
U.S. customers can find steep discounts on TVs, including a Samsung Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV ($649.99), a 32-inch Roku Smart TV ($119.99) and a 32-inch LED TV ($99.99).
Amazon is also slashing prices on its own products in the U.S., including the Fire tablet, Echo, Fire TV and Fire TV stick. Toys from Nerf, Barbie and Fisher-Price will be discounted up to 50%.
Only Amazon Prime members qualify for Prime Deals. However, shoppers can sign up for a free 30-day trial membership. (Don’t forget to cancel before the 30 days are over if you don’t want to pay the $99 annual fee.)
Shoppers with an Echo device can use Amazon’s voice-command assistant Alexa to make purchases. Alexa users will also have access to exclusive promotions and can get $10 off their first purchase of at least $20 when they use the device.
Amazon launched Prime Day last summer to celebrate its 20th year in business. The inaugural sale brought in record global sales. On average, customers ordered 398 items per second, according to the company.
Some customers grumbled last year about the sale’s inventory levels as deals sold out fast. Others used the hashtag #PrimeDayFail to vent about product selection.
Amazon said it has worked with its vendors to beef up inventory this year. The Prime Day inventory of televisions will be twice as big as Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
But that doesn’t mean popular sale items — like TVs– will last. “They will sell out fast this year,” Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law said.
Amazon isn’t the only one offering hefty deals this week. Walmart announced Monday it will offer free shipping on every online purchase through Friday along with deals on electronics, apparel and some Apple products.