The Amazon Prime Day sale yesterday saw record sales for any event in the company's history - selling even more than it did on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The event also saw more people sign up for Prime membership than on any other single day, and sales were 60% higher. But was the day a result for shoppers?
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Prime members worldwide snapped up bargains across the board, with Germans loving the Soda Stream, Italians snapping up dishwasher tablets, Americans plumping for a pressure cooker, and the French buying Game of Thrones.
In the UK, the bestseller overall was the Amazon Echo. Other massive sellers included a great deal on the Sony Playstation 4, an Oral-B Smart Series Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity, a Bosch Cordless Combi Drill, and Joe Wicks' The Lean in 15 Collection of books.
There were 309,000 toys sold, 45,000 sets of headphones, 12,000 seeds and plants, 52,000 kitchen items, 62,000 skincare products, 66,000 makeup items, 232,000 home improvement products, and 31,000 exercise and fitness items.
Was it any good?
There were definitely some impressive savings. The Echo proved so popular because it cost just £79,99 - reduced from £149.99. Meanwhile, those who snapped up headphones got up to 30% off Bose and Sennheiser, while those who went for the PS4 Slim 500 GB (which came with Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and an extra DualShock 4 controller) got the lot for £180.
However, on a special sales day held by a single retailer, there are five expensive traps you can fall into. Any shopper who fell foul of any of them will have left themselves decidedly worse off - no matter how much they 'saved'.
1. The price it is 'reduced from' may not be the lowest price offered recently
Prices change all the time on Amazon. Comparison site CamelCamelCamel.com tracks the prices over time, and shows just how dramatically prices can rise and fall.
Take the De'Longhi Nespresso EN550.B Lattisima Touch coffee machine. Yesterday it was reduced from £279.99 to £213.58 - which is an impressive reduction. However, a check on CamelCamelCamel shows that £279.99 is a fairly high price for this item, which has regularly sold for £200 or less in the past year. At the end of last year it was actually reduced to £160 with a third party seller on the marketplace, and £180 at Amazon itself.
2. The price on Amazon may not be a significant discount compared to elsewhere
In many cases, particularly with Amazon products, these were great deals however you look at them. However, there's a risk that because you are only looking at one website on Prime Day, you fail to do a price comparison, and other deals may not be as cheap as you think.
Take the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 15.6" laptop. Yesterday it was priced at £279 - a saving of £100. However, if you go to the Dell UK homepage today, you can pick up the same computer for £279 today. It goes to show that even if there's a massive discount, whenever you are buying in a sale, you need to check the price elsewhere.
3. You may be paying for a brand or feature you don't need
The problem with shopping in this kind of sale is that we tend to start with 'What's available?' rather than 'What do we want?' It means we may end up looking at a posher brand then normal, or a higher spec than we really need. This may well have a brilliant discount, but you don't just need to compare it to the full price - but the full price of the product you would have been perfectly happy with.
Take the Le Creuset deals. Yesterday you could buy a 24 cm cast iron casserole for £99.99 - a massive reduction from the usual cost of £175.99. But if you aren't terribly worried about the posh brand, you can get one from Denby (still a very high quality brand) for £64.99, or a 26 cm one from Lakeland - currently at £39.99.
4. Buying things you don't need
It seems obvious, but in the heat of the moment it doesn't always feel so clear. If you wouldn't have bought it outside of the sale, then it's not a bargain if you buy it in the sale - it's a waste of money.
5. Buying things on expensive credit
We are so used to borrowing money to buy things that it's easy to overlook the maths of this one, but if you carry a debt on a credit card or overdraft, then it won't take long for you to spend every penny you saved in interest on your debts.
But what do you think? Did you shop in the sale? Are you still pleased with your bargains?