Holiday bargain shopping is starting extra early this year. And that could be good news for shoppers, even if it signals slightly worrisome things for the economy.

E-commerce giant Amazon announced plans Monday for “a new two-day global shopping event” exclusive to members of its Prime loyalty program. Dubbed Prime Early Access Sale, the promotion is similar to Prime Day, the annual sale held in July to generate a bonanza of orders and new subscribers.

Rival retail giants Walmart and Target have already signaled plans to kick off holiday sales earlier than ever, setting the stage for a long holiday shopping season with significant discounts. With warehouses and store shelves suddenly full of inventory after two years of supply chain disruptions, deals will be easier to come by than they have since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, say retail experts.

“It is absolutely good news for consumers,” said Mark Mathews, vice president for research, development and industry analysis for the National Retail Federation, a trade group for the nation’s retailers. “Now all of a sudden we are almost back to pre-pandemic times when you have too much of this, too much of that so you have to discount.”

Amazon’s bonus sales event may be a sign that retailers are concerned Americans will keep a tight grip on their wallets this holiday season. An Amazon spokesperson said that the company — with annual sales of more than $470 billion last year — added the second online sale to help overcome such worries.


Amazon’s Early Access Sale runs Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.

Amazon started Prime Day in 2015 to attract new subscribers, who now pay $139 a year for shipping discounts, video streaming and other perks. But this is the first year that Amazon has added a second deal “holiday” in the same year.

Target is holding its Deal Days promotion slightly earlier this year, scheduling it for Oct. 6-8.

“Amazon is trying to cover its bases and trying to capture the bulk of the holiday spending,” said Venkatesh Shankar, a marketing professor at Texas A&M University.

Helping fuel the sales competition is an oversupply of merchandise — including clothes, toy, electronics, furniture and other popular consumer goods — that retailers ordered to meet expected consumer demand but were delayed for months due to supply chain problems. The items are now taking up valuable space in warehouses and store shelves.

With a recent surge in inflation and rising gasoline prices, Americans haven’t been spending on such items. Store owners and retail operators now need to move those items off the shelves to make way for new merchandise.