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Prime Day highlights will be…

As Amazon gears up for its fourth annual Prime Day shopping extravaganza, the company is expecting to hit new milestones.

Prime Day 2017 sales reached an all-time-high of $1 billion based on purchases from Prime members in more than 13 countries. Sales climbed 60% over 2016, only to be surpassed by Amazon’s Cyber Monday sales later in the year, according to “Retailers Primed for Prime Day,” a study from PwC.

Based on early predictions, Prime Day 2018 is poised to offer a new set of deep discounts and deals, along with a few new plot twists that are designed to build excitement and sales momentum.

For example, Amazon is expanding its sales window. In 2017, Amazon expanded the shopping holiday  from 24 to 30 hours, but deals began as early as two weeks before Prime Day. This year, the sale could span up to 36 hours, beginning at noon on Monday, July 16 in the United States, and lasting until midnight on July 17, according to TechRadar.

Once again, consumer electronics are expected to be among the hottest sellers during this year’s shopping holiday, especially Amazon-branded products such as Echo, Alexa, Fire, and Kindle devices. The Echo Dot speaker was 2017’s best seller, and Amazon is expected to offer enticing discounts again this year on its ecosystem of devices and complementary items, such as smart home components, according to the PwC study.

Other hot categories are expected to be smart home components, Amazon private-label apparel, PwC reported.

Building off of the excitement of its smart electronics, Amazon is also expected to offer Alexa-specific deals. This means the online giant could offer discounts to shoppers that order via an Amazon voice-activated device.

Prime Day could also feature more grocery deals, a move that will promote its Whole Foods Markets acquisition and the integration of its Prime Now delivery. The program is currently available in 19 markets across the United States, and the online giant plans to continue expanding the program across the U.S. throughout the rest of the year.

While Amazon developed Prime Day to drive its own sales during a typically slow period, other retailers are jumping on the bandwagon and offering deals of their own — a move that has turned the month of July into a mini holiday shopping season, the study explained.

For example, companies including Macy’s, Kohl’s and Office Depot have offered discounts ranging from 30% to 70% off during the Prime Day event. Williams-Sonoma featured free shipping on all orders, while J.C. Penney offered additional savings to customers using their retailer-branded credit card.

Prime Day even encouraged Wayfair to launch its own shopping holiday, Way Day, in April — a sale that produced its largest revenue day in the company’s history.

“Consumers around the world have embraced the mid-summer sales holiday, responding to the allure of online deal watching to settle on that must-have, serendipitous item, often for oneself,” the study said.
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