Amazon says it is "unboxing" 25-foot long boxes with its signature smile logo, filled with what it says will be unforgettable events, in Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Tokyo and London. Prime members can check a dedicated page for updates on exactly when and where the events take place; the Brooklyn event is set for July 11 and each event will be livestreamed, according to that site.
Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Mexico, Japan, India, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria and — new this year — Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, can shop Prime Day deals on TVs, smart home, kitchen, grocery, toys, fashion, furniture, appliances and back-to-school supplies and everyday essentials, according to a press release.
Prime Day will span a day and a half this year — 36 hours compared to 30 last year — with some special deals already available, the e-commerce giant also said.
Amazon is giving itself more time than ever to corral more consumers into its Prime ecosystem and, among them, more users of its Alexa voice assistant-enabled devices.
"[M]embers can shop exclusive Prime Day Launches from hundreds of brands worldwide, enjoy exclusive savings at Whole Foods Market and experience surprise entertainment events unboxed from giant Smile boxes in major cities," Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said in a statement.
The company's Alexa-powered Echo devices and its Whole Foods chain will both drive sales and membership, according to Ryne Misso, director of marketing at Market Track. Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods Markets last year, says the chain will participate in Prime Day this year, and that Prime members get an additional 10% off sale items and discounts on popular items at those stores. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card holders shopping there will also have access to double rewards on sales up to a certain amount July 14-17.
In addition to having those many physical locations for the first time, the e-commerce giant heads into the event this year with 100 million Prime members worldwide. Like Alibaba's Singles Day and Black Friday, Prime Day has morphed into more than a day, with a multitude of exclusive deals across its vast spectrum of merchandise categories.
What's already big, then, is set to be bigger. Last year's Prime Day was the biggest sales day in Amazon's history, surpassing both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It lasted 30 hours compared to the mere 24 hours of the first two events — and sales grew by more than 60% compared to the same 30 hours the prior year, with growth by small businesses and entrepreneurs even higher, Amazon said last year.
Prime membership also ballooned in 2017, as non-Prime customers took at least a trial membership for the purpose of participating in the sale. More new members joined Prime on July 11 last year than on any previous day in Amazon history. It's not clear if as many will stick around, considering the price is now steeper, but not many seem discouraged. According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers from Offers.com conducted for deals site BlackFriday.com, 20% are disgruntled about the price hike but said they'd still use a free Prime trial to participate in the sales day.