Amazon is kicking off the holiday season early this year with Prime Day falling on Oct. 13 and 14. While the e-commerce giant aims to lead the charge in holiday shopping with their two-day sale, they’re not alone.
Plenty of other retailers are also hosting mega shopping events in October in anticipation of a unique holiday season this year. Macy's, HP and Kohl's are just a few of the stores offering big discounts this month.
To adapt your holiday shopping to an unusual year and get the most out of Prime Day and other retailers' October sales, you'll need to shop smart and shop early.
Get a headstart on your 2020 holiday shopping strategy with these tips to maximize your savings during a month of sales.
How to shop Prime Day 2020
Sign up for Amazon Prime: To stay in the loop for all upcoming Prime Day sales, it's essential to sign up for an Amazon Prime membership. Without one, unfortunately, you're not eligible for the deals of the event. We recommend signing up in advance.
Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year (or $59 per year for students). It's the key to unlocking not only exclusive deals for Prime Day, but also ongoing deals and perks all year-long.
Shop early: Shopping early for the 2020 holiday season doesn't just mean checking in on Prime Day to start your shopping. Instead, start preparing for Prime Day now.
It's easy to track exclusive upcoming deals before they drop with a Prime membership. Simply click on "watch this deal" for items you intend to buy and set up alerts in your Amazon shopping app. Prime membership also gives exclusive access to limited-time Lightning Deals -- a high point of Prime Day -- for deep discounts on hot products and gift items.
To double-down on deal tracking, add items to your Amazon cart long before Prime Day. Not only are you able to track discounts in the Amazon app, you'll be able to swiftly purchase them when the price is right on Prime Day.
Save by shopping local: To help support U.S.-based small businesses, Amazon has launched the Support Small campaign. From today through Oct. 12, Prime members who spend $10 on select small business products will receive $10 to spend on Prime Day. Take note: You need to be a Prime member already when you spend $10 at a local business to get the benefit.
What to buy on Prime Day
Prime Day deals won't go live until Oct. 13 and 14; however, we're keeping our eyes peeled for popular big-ticket items that we anticipate to go on sale based on previous Prime Day sales. We expect to see some of the lowest prices of the year -- potentially even lower than this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- and gifts are more likely to ship in time for the holidays if you order now instead of waiting for the next major sale.
Cookware sets: Cookware sets are a big investment, which is why they're a typical item on wish lists and registries.
Instant Pots: These convenient devices optimize cooking time for everything from fluffy rice to flavorful meats and savory broths. Some even handle yogurt-making, too. If you're a passionate cook or you know one, definitely add an Instant Pot to your Amazon cart in hopes of a sweet deal on Prime Day.
Electronics: Upgrading electronics can be expensive, but in the past, there have been major Prime Day deals on mesh Wi-Fi systems, smartwatches, soundbars, and gaming consoles. Even peripherals like a keyboard and mouse are worth adding to your cart on Prime Day -- either for yourself or for someone else.
Amazon products: Amazon loyalists, rejoice: Prime Day delivers stellar sales on Amazon's own product line. Impressive deals likely won't be limited to devices like Fire Tablets, Kindles, Echo devices, or Fire TVs, either. There should be opportunities from Amazon's newly expanded list of fashion brands as well.
Other October sales events
Other major retailers have rolled out their own mid-October shopping events. Here are the sales and deals you can expect to see over the next few weeks. We'll keep this page updated as sales continue to be announced, so check back for updates.
HP: HP's Business Weekly Deals offer up to 52 percent off select devices and accessories. The HP Days Sale, currently running through all of October, has select items on sale daily with free shipping.
Backcountry: Backcountry's Winter Clearance Sale runs through Oct. 13. Winter gear, apparel, and accessories are 60 percent off, and on Oct. 13, there will be an additional 20 percent off. Prana athletic apparel is on sale between Oct. 8 and Oct. 13. Socks by Smartwool, Darn Tough, Icebreaker, and other brands are 20 percent off from Oct. 12 to Oct. 25.
Best Buy: Best Buy's Top Deals campaign is updated weekly with steep discounts on TVs, video games, computers, appliances, and more.
Chewy: Chewy's Blue Box Event is held Oct. 11 through Oct. 14. Select purchases are 30 percent off and your first auto-ship order is 40 percent off. Select toys and apparel are Buy 3 Get 1 Free. Personalized products are 25 percent off.
Other early shopping hacks for holiday 2020
Wondering how you can shop stress-free during Prime Day and other October 2020 sales? Here are a few tips to stay organized and get mobilized.
Take a look at wish lists and registries for friends and family as soon as possible. If you shop with a focus and a budget based on these lists, it's easy to cross several people off your holiday shopping list in one fell swoop during October sales.
Shop big-ticket items on Prime Day. If you or someone you're shopping for has an expensive item on their wish list, check for discounts on Prime Day, as this is likely going to be the lowest price you'll see all year on many top-of-the-line products.
Make space for all the presents you'll be ordering. Clear room in a closet or invest in a storage bin to stow away all the gifts until the holidays.
Perform a home inventory check on gift wrap. Depending on the existing and reusable gift wrap on hand, you'll cut gifting costs across the board by only buying the materials you need.
Choose a folder or envelope to serve as your central location to store gift receipts, which can be divvied out accordingly when it's time to wrap a gift. If possible, keep it with the gifts themselves so all items are in one accessible location.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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