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Amazon announced the date of Prime Day, and it sounds like Alibaba’s Singles Day

Krystal Hu

Amazon just released the dates of Prime Day – and this year the sale event will be the longest ever, lasting a full two days.

Prime Day, the annual shopping event for Prime members, will run July 15 to 16. Like previous years, the best deals usually feature Amazon’s own products, like the Amazon Fire TV and the Echo smart speaker. An early deal, Toshiba HD 43-inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV, is selling at $179.99, 40% off the regular price.

Amazon (AMZN) started Prime Day in 2015, and it has evolved as the Seattle e-commerce giant’s business footprint expands. In the early years, the main purpose of Prime Day was to attract more people to sign up for Prime, which now costs $119 a year and gives members free 2-day shipping among other perks. Now 59% of U.S. households are Prime members, according to RBC Capital Research. Prime Day has put more focus on engaging members and increasing their spending on the platform. The deals also expanded from online to stores like Whole Foods.

Close-up of logo for Amazon Prime deals on Prime Day, on a paper on a light wooden surface, San Ramon, California, July 18, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Amazon wants its users to get comfortable with voice shopping, so this year it has pushed some early access to deals only available through its smart speaker Alexa. Amazon also touts one-day delivery on more than 10 million products. The company announced in April it is investing $800 million in the second quarter to speed up delivery times.

Singles Day similarities

To spice up the shopping holiday, Amazon seems to have borrowed a page from Alibaba’s playbook, promoting offerings beyond deals that are similar to the Chinese e-commerce giant’s Singles Day.

Started a decade ago, Singles Day is the biggest one-day shopping holiday in the world, scoring $30.8 billion in sales last year. The event usually kicks off with a four-hour gala featuring celebrities both from China and overseas, including Nicole Kidman and Mariah Carey. Alibaba’s Tmall has been working with brands like Mars to launch new products.

BROOKLYN, NY - JULY 11: Guests attend the Amazon Music Unboxing Prime Day event on July 11, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Amazon)

For the first time, Amazon is also selling exclusive launches and collaborations on Prime Day, both online and in-store. Levi’s will drop a special version of its iconic jeans designed by football player Sterling Shepard and model Chanel Iman Shepard. In its release Amazon also teased “special performances” and “great entertainment.” Last year, Amazon Music hosted an Unboxing Prime Day concert in New York featuring Ariana Grande and Alessia Cara days ahead of the sale event.

“Our vision is that Prime Day should be the absolute best time to be a member – when you can enjoy shopping, savings, entertainment and some of the best deals Prime members have ever seen,” said Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.

Krystal Hu covers technology and China for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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