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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Amazon Prime Day marks unofficial, early beginning to holiday shopping

Amazon rescheduled the day from July to October.

SAN DIEGO — If you don't think Amazon Prime Day is a big deal, consider this: Americans will spend more money on this “holiday” than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined! There are definitely some good deals to be had, but consumers do need to be careful.

“Amazon is looking for about $40 billion in sales over the next couple of days,” said University of San Diego's Daniel Roccato. 

The clinical professor of finance said Amazon usually holds its Prime Day in July when sales are slow, but this year because of the pandemic, it moved the day to October, unofficially kicking off a really long holiday shopping season on Tuesday.

“The candy corn hasn't been cleared, but some folks are already thinking about Christmas trees and Amazon steps right up and they're ready to sell,” Roccato said. 

From teeth whiteners to luggage and travel mugs to an indoor hydroponic garden, Amazon has convinced you that you need this stuff - and you need it now. 

“They are very clever when it comes to marketing strategies with," said Roccato. "For example, things like a lightning deal, or a limited time offer, or limited quantities. These are all tried and true marketing strategies that have worked forever when it comes to consumer behaviors.”

Fran Cribben loves a bargain and she hit Prime Day with a plan, hoping to find a bed for her dog, Cash. The goal was to find that bed, but without spending a lot of cash.

With the pandemic, more and more consumers are shopping online. Roccato said 71% of consumers said they plan to do most of their holiday shopping over the internet this year, but he said you need to have a plan – especially one that includes a budget – before you start shopping on days like Tuesday. If you don’t you could easily get swept up in this wild Amazon created moment. 

“So it's the classic American consumer, buying stuff they don't really need with money they don't really have and Amazon has perfected the science around this," said Roccato.

Amazon has so perfected the science that, as Fran noticed, other retailers like Target and Walmart are offering their own special bargains right now to try and compete for your business.

But Roccato said now is not the time to panic, adding “Consumers need to understand that these deals - while they may be very good deals - the fact of the matter is we're going to see a lot more over the next couple of months leading up to the Christmas holiday. We shouldn't go into this with the mindset that if we miss it today we're going to miss it forever.”

That is good news for Fran because she decided against getting Cash a new bed Tuesday.