Amazon Prime Day: How often is the online giant cheapest for items?

The annual Amazon Prime Day event is back, running until the end of today, promising to give its paying members the best deals of the year.

The online giant puts on the event for its paying Prime customers with thousands of items sold at a cut price.

However, data from price comparison site Idealo suggests that whether Prime Day is cost-effective for you depends on what items you’re after. 

Meanwhile, whether you are buying on Prime Day or any other sales day, there are some things that you must do to make sure you really get a good deal. 

Many of the deals from Amazon are not the cheapest place to buy them on Prime Day

Idealo analysed prices from the last Prime Day in July 2019, comparing it to other retailers to see if customers actually get the best deals. 

It found that Amazon was only the cheapest option for some products for a small amount of time over the last year and that even during Prime Day other online stores can be cheaper.

As with any sale from any company it all depends on what you are buying, so doing your own research pays off… 

The price comparison site compares the prices of both big names of the UK shopping scene as well as smaller, independent retailers.

It used its extensive pricing catalogue to analyse the prices of around 400 popular consumer items across a range of product categories on Prime Day last year, to try to figure out whether the best deals this year are likely to be on Amazon or other shopping sites. 

What was more expensive on Amazon? 

It found that video games, prams, make up and sports good were mostly cheaper on other websites than Amazon – and if you plan on buying white goods there, you might not save. 

Amazon was only the cheapest place to buy fridges one per cent of the time on Prime Day. 

Fridges were found to cost £564 on Prime Day compared to an average of £533.08 at other retailers. 

Washing machines also came in at an average of £397 on Amazon compared to £299.11 elsewhere. 

However, it is worth pointing out that white goods are more likely to be bought from specialist stores where workers can deliver and install the product at the same time – a service Amazon doesn’t offer.   

The data revealed that focusing on one event such as Black Friday or Prime Day could result in spending more than needed, making it important to check all year round. 

When looking at which items were cheapest at other retailers, it found that the many  of the items were much cheaper at other retailers on Amazon Prime Day.

WHEN WAS AMAZON CHEAPEST ON PRIME DAY?
Percentage of the time Amazon was the cheapest on Prime Day Percentage of the time other websites were the cheapest Percentage it was the same price on Amazon and other retailers 
Fridges 1% 99% 0% 
Prams 19% 69% 12% 
Video games 15% 78% 7%
Make up 26% 64% 10% 
Sports Goods 33% 41% 26% 
Source: Idealo     

Trainers were found to be slightly cheaper elsewhere at £53 on Amazon compared to £51.32 at other retailers, for example, the popular Nike Air Force 1’s  were £86.65 on Amazon but just £72.56 elsewhere. 

Similarly, video games were also cheapest on other retailers compared to Amazon’s Prime Day with an average price of £13.85 compared to £19.  

What was cheaper on Amazon? 

However, smartphones were generally cheaper on Amazon on Prime Day overall but this did vary depending on the model.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy S9 64GB in lilac purple was £405.62 on Amazon but only cost £396.59 on average on other sites. 

But those looking for a bargain on Amazon Prime Day could still save hundreds on big ticket items.  

There were a number of items that were generally cheaper, for example, running shoes were cheaper on Prime Day at £71.44 on average, compared to £75.16 at other retailers.

Headphones, one of Prime Day’s biggest sellers, also came in slightly cheaper at £177.42 compared to £177.47.

The biggest savings, however, were from laptops, one of the highest tickets items. 

Customers on Amazon Prime Day could save hundreds as the average price was £909.59 compared to £1,163.40.  

WHAT ITEMS WERE CHEAPEST AT OTHER RETAILERS?
Item Average cheapest price
on Amazon Prime Day 
Average price at other retailers 
Smartphones £332 £394.14
Fridge £564 £533.08 
Trainers £53 £51.32 
Washing machine £397 £299.11 
Video games £19 £13.85 
Games console £224 £234.70 
Running shoes  £71.44  £75.16 
Headphones  £177.42  £177.47 
Laptops  £909.59  £1,163.40 
Source: Idealo      

Katy Phillips, Idealo’s communications and PR manager, said: ‘There are several reasons why prices can fluctuate all year round, with many retailers using artificial intelligence and algorithms to dynamically adjust prices according to consumer demand, competitor prices and even the weather.’ 

‘Amazon Prime Day is undoubtedly a great time to snap-up a deal, but shoppers do have to be a little bit savvy and look elsewhere in order to really get the best bargains. 

‘Preparation and patience is key, and we’d urge shoppers to remember to compare prices of products to make sure they are getting the best deal on offer’.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, added: ‘While it might seem like a good time to bag a bargain, we’ve found that not all deals are what they are cracked up to be, so don’t assume you’re getting a sweet deal just because you see the Amazon Prime Day blue badge on a product page.

‘Preparation is key – take some time to set yourself a budget and create a shortlist of products that you want to keep an eye on. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the prices, that way you’ll recognise a genuine deal when you see one.’

Five tips for bagging a bargain: 

Meanwhile, Uswitch, the comparison and switching service, has offered tips to shoppers who are determined to get the best bargains on the day. 

1. Plan ahead: Amazon Prime Day is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of big discounts to Amazon’s flagship technology, including its streaming sticks, Echo and Kindle devices. 

If you’ve been looking to get your hands on this tech, now could be your chance.

2. Know your budget: Set yourself a spending limit. Impulse-buying without strict spending rules will likely result in purchasing items you don’t need, ending up with a pile of items you don’t want. 

3. Know your rights: The Consumer Rights Act says goods should be of satisfactory quality, fit to do the job intended, and last a reasonable length of time. 

This right is limited to 30 days from the date you buy your product. If you’re unhappy with the item, it’s worth knowing what the return policy is in advance.

4. Do your research: The bottom line is to always check the reviews, as it’s easy to be swayed by clever advertising. 

If you’re planning to purchase more expensive items, such as smartphones or laptops, look for deals on comparison sites.

What deals are available? 

Which? has revealed some of the early deals for Amazon Prime Day.

Eero Mesh WiFi System 3-pack – was £249, now £149.40 (40% off) 

The Eero Mesh is a complete home Wi-Fi system that’s designed to replace your router and eliminate dead zones – parts of your house where you don’t receive a reliable internet connection. 

So far, this is the lowest price it has been on Amazon.  

Amazon Echo Show 5 – was £79.99, now £44.99 (44% off)

This internet-enabled smart hub from Amazon has a 5.5-inch touchscreen display. It’s powered by the attentive Alexa voice assistant, which can help you organise your work calendar, run web searches and control your other smart gadgets. 

Without reaching for your phone, you can have the Amazon Echo Show 5 play tunes from your favourite artists through Amazon Music, Apple Music or Spotify. A toggle on the back of this chatty speaker lets you mute the microphone. It is the cheapest price it has ever been on Amazon so far.  

Oral B Genius 9000 – was £299.99, now £99.19 (67% off) 

Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, the price for this smart toothbrush from Oral-B has dropped below £100. The Genius 9000 partners up with the free Oral-B smartphone app, which shares handy stats such as the average amount of time you brush for.

This toothbrush comes bundled with a smartphone holder – and for good reason. Using the front-facing camera on your mobile, the Oral-B app can show you where in your mouth you’re brushing, and when to move on to the next section. 

However, it was cheaper on Amazon in December 2019, costing £78.99. 

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