By Michelle Graff
Amazon is expanding Prime Day, its day of mega-deals for Prime members, from 24 to 30 hours and presenting it in three new countries, China, India and Mexico.
Seattle--Amazon is making its third annual Prime Day longer and broader in an effort to get more consumers to sign up for its Prime membership.

Scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EST on July 10, Prime Day will go for 30 hours and be offered in three additional countries--China, India and Mexico--bringing the total reach of the sales event to 13 nations worldwide.

Amazon started Prime Day, a day of steep discounts on products website-wide that’s only open to those who sign for the e-tailer’s Prime membership, in 2015.

The company said last year that the 24-hour event turned out to be its “biggest day ever” in terms of sales, with orders up 50 percent in the United States over the prior year. The No. 1 sellers were Amazon-branded electronic devices, like the Kindle, Fire tablets and Fire TV.

The day includes deals offered by small businesses that sell on Amazon.

The e-tailer said that this year, about 40 percent of the “Lightning Deals,” premium deals that are available one per customer and run for a specific period of time or until supplies are exhausted, will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs who sell on the site.

Though the company is not releasing many specifics on what types of products will be discounted starting July 10, it did say that Prime Day will include “amazing TV deals,” particularly on the Element 4K Ultra HD Smart LED – Amazon Fire Edition TV, and that it is bringing back “voice shopping,” giving exclusive deals to shoppers who have virtual assistant Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.

It also is offering deals every day from now until July 11, including 35 percent off select food and household items in Prime Pantry.

The dominant force in online retailing already, Amazon’s influence is only expected to grow.

Earlier this year, investment banking firm Needham & Co. predicted that Amazon would account for half of all online sales in the United States by 2021--and that was before announcement of the Whole Foods acquisition.

The online retailer also recently launched a bridal shop that includes engagement rings and bands among other wedding wares on Handmade, the section of its website created to compete with Etsy.

Amazon ranked No. 9 on National Jeweler’s 2016 list of $100 Million Supersellers, moving an estimated $640 million in watches and jewelry in North America in 2015.

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