Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days event is here. But are the prices really that good?

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An Amazon driver delivers packages in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27, 2023.

Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Amazon’s Prime Day sales event is officially underway for the second time this year. The online retailer’s Prime Big Deal Days is expected to bring in $8.1 billion this year, according to an Adobe Analytics forecast.

The 48-hour sale offers exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members and marks the official start of the holiday shopping season for the e-commerce retailer — well before most forecasts include sales in the “holiday sales” time periods.

Forty-one percent of consumers say they have already started or plan to shop by the end of October, according to the Shopify-Gallup Holiday Shopper Pulse survey out Tuesday.

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The Amazon sale event comes as Americans face mounting economic pressures, including rising interest rates, persistent inflation and the restart of student loan payments. Those pressures are driving cost-conscious shoppers to stock up now on holiday gifts.

Those competing forces “create a battle for consumer spending,” Nick Handrinos, vice chairman and leader of Deloitte LLP’s retail and consumer products practice, recently told CNBC.

Electronics, toys and games, personal care and cosmetics are among the categories shoppers plan to buy during this Prime Big Deal Days event, according to the latest weekly consumer insights poll conducted by CoreSight Research. Check out NBC Select for more information on Prime Day savings. It depends on the category. It depends on the category.

“Many of us expected

especially to be more impressive than it has been,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com.[Tuesday]”While there are some good offers on Amazon devices and services, outside of those, it’s been somewhat lackluster,” she added.

Best days to buy on Amazon

CNBC analyzed daily pricing data provided by Jungle Scout, a platform providing tools to Amazon sellers, for 19 products from the most popular categories sold on Amazon.com by Amazon directly or the brand itself between September 2022 and September 2023.

CNBC found the best prices for electronics and toys is typically during Amazon’s summer Prime Day sale, compared to other major shopping events. The best deals for health and beauty products are likely to be found during Black Friday. The fall Prime event may have better prices on home goods. CNBC declined to provide that data in advance of publication.

All deals must meet the site’s bar for “quality savings,” the spokeswoman said. It must be the lowest price offered to customers in the past 30 days, among other criteria.

“Every deal in our store must offer trustworthy savings for customers as compared to verifiable reference prices, whether it’s a regular shopping day or during one of Amazon’s major deals events, such as Prime Big Deal Days, Prime Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday,” she said.

Electronics

While the July Prime event had the deepest discounts for electronics when compared with other similar retail shopping sales events, for three of the four electronics tracked, the Prime sales events were not the best prices of the year.

In fact, the best prices happened on days that were not key shopping event days.

Only the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max’s lowest price of the year coincided with one of the e-commerce shopping days outlined above. Media streaming device had been listed at $54.99 for most of the year. During the July Prime sale, the product’s price dropped roughly 55% to $24.99.

iRobot’s Roomba 694, however, was the only product among the group that was cheaper on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, instead of the July Prime Days. The robotic vacuum reached its highest price in March of $269. At its lowest, the Roomba was listed at $122.30.

During the period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers could snag a Roomba 694 for $179. This price was not exclusive to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Roomba has been listed at this price for several times throughout the year. The July Prime event was a better deal for shoppers than last year’s Super Saturday and October Prime Sale. Health and beauty products

Some of the most popular health and beauty items are likely to go on sale this Tuesday and Wednesday. If last year’s holiday sales are any indication, you can expect to see more products on Black Friday. The Revlon One Step Volumizer Plus 2.0 hot airbrush and hair dryer, for instance, were only available for $29.09 for three days during Black Friday week last year. The popular hair-styling product was priced at $59.99 when it was at its peak. These products were also discounted on other key shopping days. The same products were discounted on other major shopping holidays, including July’s Prime Event. Home goods

When it comes to home products, consumers may want to fill up their carts over the next two days and finalize those purchases. The Bissell Little Green Portable Cleaner 1400B was the only exception. Its highest price for the year was $123.59 and its lowest, $70.31. The price of the product dropped to $86 at the July Prime Sale, but was not reduced in any way during the October event.

Toys

Somewhat surprisingly, all five products within the toys and games category analyzed by CNBC reported their lowest retail shopping event prices during July’s Prime sale, but the prices weren’t the lowest of the year. Only the SEREED Baby Balance Bike was able to reach its lowest price of the year, dropping from $49.99 to $39.99 on every retail shopping holiday except Super Saturday. Only the SEREED Baby Balance Bike hit its lowest price of the year, dropping from its high of $49.99 to $39.99 on every retail shopping holiday except Super Saturday.

While the Squishmallows Mystery Pack was discounted from its high of $26.99 to $22.99 during every single retail shopping event from last October’s Prime sale through this past summer’s Prime Sale, the price ended up being lower in early July.

Are Prime shopping events losing their luster?

Several data points suggest these Prime Day sales events might be losing their luster with shoppers. Maybe Amazon shoppers have become more aware of pricing patterns or big sales days are no longer as exciting as in the past. In 2015, a Prime membership cost $99 a year, now it’s $139. In 2015, a Prime membership was $99 a year, now it’s $139.

Downloads of Amazon’s shopping app have declined steadily during each subsequent Prime member shopping event since Amazon’s Prime Days in July 2021, according to data intelligence platform Apptopia, which tracks mobile app usage for brands like Amazon.

Declining downloads alone may not be a sign of interest waning among shoppers, but when combined with a drop-off in daily active users over the last two Prime shopping events, and a deceleration in the number of times users are interacting with the Amazon app during these events, it becomes more likely consumers are feeling Prime Day fatigue.

An Amazon spokeswoman said Wednesday that U.S. sales on the first day of Prime Big Deal Days were higher than on the first day of the company’s October 2022 Holiday Kick-Off event. Amazon does not reveal revenue data from its Prime events. )

Further detail on pricing analysis methodology

The products that CNBC analyzed from Jungle Scout’s daily pricing data spanned four different key holiday shopping categories including electronics, health and beauty, home and toys and games. CNBC excluded third-party marketplace sellers. Third-party marketplaces were excluded. Get your tickets today and learn more.