Customers brace for Amazon Prime Day as ‘small treats’ pattern takes maintain

Prime Day, competitor sales begin soon

Amazon’s The much-anticipated Prime Day begins July 11 at 3 p.m. ET and runs through July 12.

Competitors like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are also running overlapping deal events — Best Buy’s “Black Friday in July” event runs from July 10-12, while Walmart+ Week starts on July 10 and runs through July July 13 goes. Target Circle Week has an even longer event offering days from July 9-15.

Meanwhile, other retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sur La Table, and Wayfair are slashing prices by 50% or more over the course of the month.

“Inflation is urging consumers to start early and find deals from retailers willing to offer top-notch promotions that drive traffic and enthusiasm in a challenging environment,” said Matt Kramer, head of consumer and retail sectors at KPMG.

The “Lipstick Index” is back as a form of shopping therapy

According to a recent survey by CNBC and Morning Consult, higher prices over the past six months have caused nearly 80% of consumers to cut back on purchases of non-essential goods like entertainment, home décor and clothing.

Still, nearly 80% of adults said they plan to shop on Amazon Prime Day, according to a survey by The Vacationer. And according to a separate report by shopping rewards site Smarty, 70% of consumers said shopping therapy can have a positive impact on their mental state.

The theory is that even when times are tough, consumers will cut back on spending but still buy small luxuries.

Inflation is incredibly painful for consumers, so we expect consumption to weaken: OECD

The so-called Lipstick Index was originally coined by former Estee Lauder CEO Leonard Lauder after the bursting of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s rocked the economy. Lauder noted that women were replacing minor indulgences like lipstick with more expensive luxuries.

“Many consumers shop on Prime Day to get their mid-year ‘shopping therapy’, but it’s important to spend wisely lest relieving the stress of shopping becomes an impulse calculation that needs to pay off,” said Vipin Porwal, Smarty’s CEO .

To that end, here’s how to navigate the summer sales without breaking the bank.

What to buy on Prime Day

The best deals are for Amazon’s own devices, such as 75% off the 43-inch Amazon Fire TV Omni series. But according to, it’s also a good time to snag discounts on other popular personal devices from brands like Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Google and Sony.

Keep an eye out for a wide range of back-to-school essentials, including kids’ clothes, backpacks and tablets, according to the shopping experts at RetailMeNot.

Expect home and garden deals to dominate.

Julie Ramhold

Consumer Analyst at

For those looking to save money on essential goods, top-selling items on Prime Day over the past few years have included clothing, beauty products, kitchenware, toys and outdoor gear.

This time around, “we expect home and garden deals to dominate,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at

How to benefit from Prime Day offers

To take advantage of the Prime Day deals, you must be an Amazon Prime member.

You can sign up for an annual or monthly membership, or if you’re not sure yet, a free trial. For the first time, Amazon will also be offering invite-only deals where members of its Prime subscription club can request an invite to take advantage of discounts on items that typically sell out quickly. (Check out CNBC’s Select for more on avoiding the membership fee in time to score Prime Day deals.)

Amazon employees sort packages for delivery July 12, 2022 in New York.

Michael M Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Then scroll through upcoming deals and set up Deal Alert notifications on Amazon or through your Alexa device so you know when the price drops.

If an offer is active, add the item to your shopping cart immediately. Some temporary “Lightning Deals” sell out quickly, Ramhold said. Once a sale item is in your cart, you have 15 minutes to decide if you want to complete the purchase.

If you’ve decided on a specific product and it doesn’t appear in upcoming deals, you can create a Wishlist and Amazon will notify you when it becomes part of a Prime Day deal.

Where to find the best price outside of Amazon

Other retailers may have better deals without requiring a membership, according to consumer finance expert Andrea Woroch. Plus, most offer free shipping or curbside pickup.

A price tracking browser extension like CamelCamelCamel or Keepa can help you keep track of price changes and alert you when a price drops.

Woroch’s top deals include $181 off the Beats Studio3 wireless noise-cancelling headphones, or $242 off the iRobot Roomba WiFi robot vacuum at Walmart, and $350 off the 15.6-inch touchscreen Laptop IdeaPad 3i from Lenovo or $130 off a Dyson V8 Origin Cordless Stick Vacuum on target.

Woroch recommends stacking discounts, such as combining credit card rewards with store coupons, and then using a cashback site like to earn money back on those purchases.

For more information on the Amazon Prime Day deals, check out NBC Select’s latest round-up of the best early Prime Day deals.

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