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8 Reasons to Think Twice Before Shopping Amazon‘s Prime Big Deal Days This Year

Every year, Amazon generates a flurry of excitement and media coverage around its massive Prime Day sales event. Recently expanded and rebranded as "Prime Big Deal Days," this 48-hour deals bonanza in October promises exclusive discounts for Amazon Prime members on over a million products sitewide.

Since the first Prime Day in 2015, the scale of the event has grown exponentially. During the 2022 event, global revenues topped $12 billion with 300 million items sold – that‘s an astonishing 100,000 products purchased per minute! With inflation putting a strain on many households, the lure of steep markdowns can be especially tempting this year. But before you whip out your credit card and start loading up your cart, you may want to consider these reasons why participating in Amazon‘s Prime Big Deal Days may not actually be in your best interest as a consumer.

1. Buying Things You Don‘t Actually Need

Let‘s face it – scoring a "deal" often causes people to purchase products they never intended to buy in the first place and may not truly need. Retailers count on big sales events to drive impulse buying. When you see those slashed prices and countdown clocks warning of scarcity, your brain gets a hit of excitement and FOMO that can override your rational judgment.

But once the dopamine rush wears off, you may experience buyer‘s remorse, especially if you spent more than you budgeted for or now need to find space for items you didn‘t plan for. Sure, you can usually return products to Amazon, but that‘s an extra hassle. It‘s better to go in with a clear plan of what you actually need, set a strict budget, and stick to your list to avoid accumulating items that will just end up collecting dust.

2. Other Retailers Now Compete with Their Own Sales

While Prime Day used to be unrivaled, in recent years competitors have gotten in on the action to grab their own slice of the October deals pie. Mega retailers Target and Walmart now deliberately schedule their own massive sales to overlap with Prime Big Deal Days and siphon off shoppers.

For 2023, Target is running "Target Circle Week" from October 1-7, featuring discounts across categories like electronics, apparel, toys, and home goods. Walmart is following close on Amazon‘s heels with its "Walmart Deals Holiday Kickoff" from October 9-12, touting rollbacks up to 70% off on thousands of items. With so many sales now clustered in the same time period, it‘s worth comparison shopping around before assuming Amazon‘s prices are the absolute lowest.

3. Many Deals Aren‘t Actually All-Time Low Prices

Another reason not to get swept up in the Prime deals hype is that many of the sale prices aren‘t actually the best bargains those products have ever seen. Historically, discounts on some categories, like TVs and electronics, are often deeper around Black Friday and the holidays than in October.

Using price tracking tools like CamelCamelCamel, Honey, or Keepa can give you better perspective on a product‘s pricing history over time so you can gauge if a Big Deal Day discount is really that special. Unless it‘s an urgent need, you may get a better deal if you‘re willing to sit tight and wait for the real rock-bottom prices later in the year.

4. Paywall for the Best Deals

One of the biggest catches of Prime Big Deal Days is that, as the name implies, the juiciest deals are exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers. While there are some offers available to all, the premium lightning deals and largest percent-off discounts are locked behind that $139/year or $14.99/month paywall.

For frequent Amazon shoppers, the extra savings may be worth the subscription. But if you‘re on a tight budget, you have to weigh whether you‘ll use Prime‘s other features, like expedited shipping and streaming entertainment, enough to justify the cost. Otherwise, you may not actually come out ahead after accounting for the membership fee.

5. The Products You Really Want May Not Go on Sale

Because there‘s no guarantee that the specific products at the top of your wish list will be included in the Prime Big Deal Days offers, you may find yourself compromising on the items you really want. Retailers use big sales to push certain brands or models they want to move quickly.

So you may feel pressure to spring for a discounted product that isn‘t your first choice, rather than holding out for the exact item you‘ve had your heart set on. Avoid falling for the trap of spending money on something that will be a disappointment just because a countdown clock is urging you to act fast.

6. Blink-and-You‘ll-Miss-It Lightning Deals

Amazon structures many of its most in-demand Prime Big Deal Days offers as short-lived "Lightning Deals" active for only a few hours or until a limited inventory sells out. Some of the most popular deals can sell out nearly instantly as shoppers pounce and news of the markdowns spreads on social media and deal-sharing sites.

Unless you‘re able to sit glued to your screen hitting refresh so you can jump the moment something you want pops up at a deep discount, you may find the most-hyped deals frustratingly out of reach. And since these offers don‘t get a second chance once they‘re gone, it‘s not worth stressing yourself if you miss the boat.

7. Plenty of Other Sales Coming Later This Year

Even if some products on your list aren‘t discounted as much as you hoped they would be during October‘s Prime Big Deal Days, or you miss out on scoring limited-stock deals, take heart that this isn‘t your last shot at saving money this year. The holiday shopping season will be ramping up before you know it, bringing a sleigh-full of other sales.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and the lead-up to December holidays reliably delivers a bounty of bargains to help you check off your gift list. So if Prime Big Deal Days leave you feeling like you didn‘t save as much as you wanted, rest assured there will be plenty more opportunities to shop sales events in the coming months.

8. Putting Your Dollars Toward Small Local Businesses

It‘s no secret that Amazon rakes in staggering sums of money. In 2022, the company reported net sales of over $514 billion. But Amazon has also faced escalating backlash over labor conditions in its fulfillment centers, its environmental footprint from shipping, and the devastating impact it‘s had on the survival of small businesses.

For socially-conscious consumers, Prime Big Deal Days present a conundrum. Saving money is important, but so is supporting your local economy and small businesses owned by members of your community. Before defaulting to ordering discounted goods on Amazon, consider whether you could find comparable products from independent retailers in your area, even if it means paying a bit more.

Your extra dollars will go a long way toward helping neighborhood shops and artisans stay afloat against the crushing pressure of giant e-commerce competitors. And small local businesses often provide high-touch, personalized customer service you‘d be hard pressed to get from Amazon when you need support.

Alternative Retail Therapy

If you still want to score some deals and enjoy the thrill of the October sales hunt but don‘t want to give Amazon your business, you have other appealing alternatives to turn to. As mentioned earlier, big box stores Target and Walmart schedule their own competing blowout sales during the same time period.

Historically, Target Circle Week and Walmart Deals Holiday Kickoff have offered comparable markdowns on a similar range of products and categories as Prime Big Deal Days. Because they each have a massive nationwide brick-and-mortar presence on top of their e-commerce business, you may prefer the convenience of picking up orders at your local Target or Walmart rather than waiting for Amazon shipping.

While both retailers have their own membership tiers – Walmart+ and Target Circle – you typically don‘t need a paid account to take full advantage of the deals (though subscribers sometimes get early access). You may find it easier to stretch your budget by price matching between all three of the big guns dueling it out.

The Bottom Line on Prime Big Deal Days

When Amazon first introduced Prime Day in 2015, it was a groundbreaking sales event that ignited a summer deals frenzy. As the company has expanded its marquee sale with a fall companion, the Prime Big Deal Days branding hasn‘t resonated quite as strongly and consumers may feel some fatigue with the deluge of deals coming at them from not just Amazon, but a growing number of competitors.

While browsing the offers and checking items off your list is certainly alluring – particularly with budget-conscious shoppers looking for any opportunity to save a buck – the reality is that Amazon counts on your FOMO and impulse purchasing to drive record-breaking revenues, even if the prices aren‘t always the absolute lowest available.

As a responsible consumer, it‘s worth trying to cut through the hype, slow down, and assess whether you‘re actually getting the most bang for your buck by buying from Amazon during these sales. Arming yourself with price histories, budgeting in advance, comparison shopping across multiple retailers, and considering the potential to support small local businesses instead are all savvy strategies to avoid succumbing to the pitfalls of Prime Big Deal Days.

At the end of the day, Amazon will be just fine without your dollars in October with or without record-shattering Prime Big Deal Days numbers. Don‘t feel guilty for taking a pass if participating won‘t serve your financial goals or your values in the long run.

Prime Big Deal Days FAQs:

Q: When is Amazon Prime Big Deal Days in 2023?
A: Prime Big Deal Days will run for 48 hours from October 10-11, 2023.

Q: What kind of deals can I expect?
A: Amazon offers a wide range of discounts across categories like electronics, home goods, apparel, toys, beauty, and its own devices. Deals often range from 20-50%+ off regular prices.

Q: Do I need to be a Prime member?
A: Yes, the best Prime Big Deal Days offers are only available for Amazon Prime subscribers. If you don‘t want to commit to a paid membership, some deals are available to all customers.

Q: What are the best alternatives?
A: Target Circle Week from October 1-7 and Walmart Deals Holiday Kickoff from October 9-12 feature similar types of discounts on a broad array of products.

Q: How can I make sure I‘m getting the best price?
A: Use price tracking tools like CamelCamelCamel, Honey or Keepa to check a product‘s price history and compare current deals to past sales. Have a budget in mind and don‘t let time pressure force you into buying something you‘re not sure about.