What you can expect from Amazon Prime Day sales

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Amazon attempted to further its domination of online retail last year with the creation of Prime Day. Meant to reward the users of its wildly popular subscription program (best known for providing free shipping, but offering many other perks), Prime Day was supposed to rival Black Friday for deals, according to Amazon.

In reality, Prime Day was widely criticized for poor savings — but was popular enough for the megastore to bring it back. With many eyes on Amazon again this year, shoppers are surely expecting the store to do something big this time around. Here’s what you can expect.

Amazon Prime Day 2016 is July 12

While we can still only speculate about what will be on sale, we do know when this year’s Prime Day will arrive — July 12. The store released an official statement noting the date and a few small details:

“We are happy to announce that the second annual Prime Day event will be on July 12th starting midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST). Prime Day will feature more than 100,000 deals worldwide offered exclusively for Prime members, making it the biggest Amazon event ever. New and existing Prime members will find deals across nearly all departments and categories. There will be something for everyone with new deals as often as every five minutes throughout the day.”

In addition to blockbuster deals on Prime Day, July 12th, Amazon will offer countdown deals for Prime members every day from July 5th through July 11th. Members in the U.S. will find summer entertainment deals starting Tuesday, July 5th including a 32-inch TV bundle with a Fire TV Stick for $119.99. Countdown deals will include gadgets on-the-go, products perfect for summer travel, for foodies and outdoor living, back-to-school and in-home essentials, and daily deals on top TV series and blockbuster movies available to rent or purchase and instantly stream through the Amazon Video app on any device.”

Some shoppers may now be wondering if it’ll be worth shopping the 2016 Prime Day sales, so we’ve dug up our data on last year’s deals so we can predict what you should expect this year.

Who can shop Amazon Prime Day?

But first, let’s make it clear: This sale isn’t for everyone. As the name indicates, only Amazon Prime subscribers can shop Amazon Prime Day. However, this includes free trial members, guests who’ve been invited as part of Amazon Household, and users with Prime Fresh, Amazon Family or Amazon Student memberships.

What Amazon Prime Day sales can we expect?

In 2015, Amazon offered thousands of bargains across a multitude of product categories, including several good deals on enticing electronics like TVs, laptops, tablets and Roombas … but the best deals were sold out within minutes of the sale’s midnight start.

Hopefully, Amazon will take the critiques of 2015’s shopping extravaganza to heart and space these deals out throughout the day in 2016, to make them available to more than just the night owls. But, barring any announcements to the contrary, it’s best to assume things will play out like last year — so be ready to hit “Add to cart” when the sale starts.

You can also expect some good category sales (2015 had 30 percent off select clothing, shoes and jewelry, and up to 70 percent off select kitchenware, for example) and plenty of Lightning Deals throughout the day.

What should you buy on Amazon Prime Day?

While many of the Amazon Prime Day sales will be a surprise, you can pretty much guarantee there will be solid discounts on Amazon-brand products, especially anything new the company is trying to hook customers on.

Last year saw discounts like 60 percent off Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, $15 off the Fire TV Stick, $60 off Fire HD 7 and $50 off Amazon Echo. Earlier this year, Amazon released the Echo Dot and the Echo Tap, both of which may be included in the Prime Day discounts. (The Tap has dropped as low as $95 in the past, whereas we’ve never seen the Dot on sale.) In general, it’s a fairly safe bet that any Amazon-brand product will see some sort of discount on Prime Day.

Save at Amazon throughout the year

Whether or not you shop during Prime Day, there are ways to save with Amazon year round. Check out our guide to Amazon Prime perks, or check out how you can score a few extra months of Prime for free. And of course, we’re always listing the latest Amazon sales, coupons and freebies here.