Amazon Prime Day 2021 Has Arrived — Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Illustration by Michelle Lin.
Amazon’s 7th Prime Day is now upon us, and we are currently combing every inch of the ’zon to uncover the best prices. Some of us shopping geezers remember a time when the only blowout sale event that attracted crowds and warranted news coverage was Black Friday, but times have a-changed with one whippersnapper of sale that's starting to rival the post-Thanksgiving counterpart in terms of scale, savings, and ubiquity. Amazon didn’t disappoint with the septenary installation of its epic annual sale — and we’re providing you with all the details you’ll need to shop the big day like a pro. Keeping reading to make the most of Amazon Prime Day 2021.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

What started as a one-day sale in 2015 to mark Amazon’s 20th anniversary is now in its 7th year and spans a full 48-hour period of daily to lightning deals on a massive selection of the site's bestselling stock. While you think it might be getting long in the tooth after all this time, the luster of Prime Day hasn’t worn off one bit — in fact, the hype seems to grow with each passing year, with more and more discounts being offered and rival retailers feeling the pressure to get in on the action. Walmart’s “Deals for Days” sale, which cheekily launched the night before Prime Day started, is not to be missed; and you can see our massive roundup of alternative Prime Day sales here.

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

After some scheduling acrobatics in 2020, Prime Day landed to its familiar spot in the mid-summer calendar with its dates of June 21 and 22. This date seems to be a compromise between last year’s mid-October Prime Day and the post-July 4 timing that we’d grown accustomed to pre-pandemic. Is Amazon’s new buzz-building strategy to keep us on our toes with an ever-changing date? Only time — and future Prime Days — will tell.

What will be on sale for Amazon Prime Day?

Last year, Amazon reported that its top-selling Prime Day-discounted products included the iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuum, LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, and Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Vitamins. (Refinery29 readers, for their part, bought up Crest Whitestrips, Hard as Hoof nail strengthening cream, Oribe’s texturizing spray, and Mario Badescu’s toner trio in the thousands.) This year, the deals are plentiful, but we narrowed them down for easy digestion: check out our 35 must-have editor’s picks from Prime Day (including discounts on HATCH, Sakara, and New Balance) and our reader’s top-shopped Prime Day items (Apple AirPods, a top-rated vibrator, and the legendary exfoliating washcloths among them).

How do I get access to Prime Day deals?

There’s no way around it: you do have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of the best savings today and tomorrow. You can always sign up for a 30-day free trial to test the waters, knowing that memberships have year-round perks: free lightning-fast shipping, access to Prime Wardrobe and Personal Shopper, hours of entertainment, music, and more.

What Prime Day deals are available now?

At the moment, there are too many to name — you’ll have to head to Amazon’s Prime Day landing page to dive into the madness for yourself — the best deals on products like Roombas, JBL speakers, premium beauty products, and smartwatches are at the very top. Among the Most Wanted-approved goods that we spotted were some Lizzo-endorsed butt-scrunch leggings at almost 15% off or 25% off the ’90s-chic sunglasses that our fashion writer owns in three colors. And don’t forget about Amazon’s biggest competitors — Walmart has savings on Apple, iRobot’s Roomba (along with rival affordable brand Ecovacs), a top-rated cold brew coffee maker, and more.

What are the benefits of Amazon Prime?

As mentioned above, if you’re on the fence about joining Amazon Prime but don’t want to miss out on Prime Day deals, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial, no questions asked. (With Prime Day a little less than two weeks out, this is kind of the perfect time.) In addition to the marquee benefits of free shipping, there are lesser-known conveniences like two-day delivery and discounts from Amazon Pharmacy, early access to blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Lightning Deals, beloved original TV shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, over two million songs ad-free with Amazon Music.

What deals will Amazon’s competitors have on Prime Day?

Amazon has done such a thorough job of creating a frenzy around Prime Day that almost every other big-box retailer under the sun (Best Buy, Target, Walmart, even eBay) is running a Prime Day alternative sale. (The savings aren’t limited to mega-shops, either; you can check out our roundup of alternative Prime Day sales that includes startups like Our Place, Lively, sexual wellness brand Foria, and keepsake-jewelry imprint Common Era.) As mentioned above, however, the competition from the big dogs is stiff: we saw some pretty fiery sales from the likes of Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wayfair.

Does Amazon ever offer discounts on Prime memberships?

If you decide you like the Prime lifestyle and want to keep your access to everything that Amazon has to offer, there are two ways to get an ongoing discount on your Prime membership. College students are eligible for a six-month free trial followed by a $6.49 monthly fee for Prime, which is a 50% discount off the regular monthly price. In addition, if you receive benefits in the form of SNAP, WIC, or other EBT programs, you can get Prime perks for a discounted $5.99 per month.
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