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5 things to know before you shop on Monday

Prime Day, Amazon’s made-up annual shopping event, is upon us.

The two-day sale brings in billions of dollars for the company and has become one of its top-grossing events of the year. (The other: Cyber Monday.)

Here are five things to know about this year’s event, which begins at 3 a.m. Eastern time Monday. (Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

1. What exactly is Prime Day?

Amazon created the shopping event five years ago as a way to drum up summer sales and boost membership for its $119-a-year Prime program. The company offers round-the-clock deals on everyday items, as well as exclusive concerts and gaming events for its members.

Like Black Friday, Prime Day has extended from a one-day sale into a days-long affair. This year’s event goes for 48 hours. The company says the deals are a “surprise,” though analysts say they expect discounts on electronics, apparel and home goods. (Last year’s bestsellers included the Instant Pot in the United States, laundry detergent in Mexico and Sonicare toothbrushes in China.)

Amazon says it sold more than 100 million products to its 100 million Prime members during last year’s sale. The company does not disclose Prime Day sales figures, but this year’s event is expected to bring in $5.8 billion, according to estimates from Coresight Research. That’s versus an estimated $3.9 billion last year.

2. What’s new this year?

Prime Day, historically, has been an opportunity for Amazon to market its own products. Last year the company said it sold a record number of Fire TV devices, Kindle e-readers and Fire kids tablets.

This year, it’s going a step further by encouraging Prime members to shop at its Whole Foods grocery stores, where it offered “Prime Day” deals for an entire week, starting July 10.

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