Amazon takes on Black Friday with Prime Day deals

Step aside Black Friday. Amazon is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a day of deals that could boost new Prime memberships and move tons of merchandise.

Can it be 20 years already? Indeed it is: Amazon is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and in typical fashion, the company will be looking to move a record amount of merchandise through its online store.

Amazon announced on Monday that July 16 will be dubbed Prime Day with what it says will provide more special offers that Black Friday; typically the biggest shopping day of the calendar year:

"Next week, Amazon turns 20 and on the eve of its birthday, the company introduces Prime Day, a global shopping event, offering more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria. On Wednesday, July 15, new and existing members in the U.S. will find deals starting at midnight, with new deals starting as often as every ten minutes. They can shop thousands of Lightning Deals, seven popular Deals of the Day and receive unlimited fast, free shipping."

Obviously, one needs an Amazon Prime membership to participate in the Prime Day deals. Amazon has long offered a free, 30-day trial of the service which includes two-day shipping, reduced one-day shipping, Prime Instant Video and Prime Music streaming.

By celebrating Prime Day, Amazon could entice additional consumers to give the service a try. And that would be a smart play because Prime members on average spend far more than non-members. CNET noted earlier this year that Prime members open their wallets to the tune of $1,500 a year, compared to the $625 non-members spend on Amazon's site.

My family has had a Prime membership for about five years and we're even worse -- or better, from Amazon's perspective -- than the average member: Using software for iOS and Android to track our Amazon purchases, I can see that we've spent $14,423 with Amazon during that time.

That works out to nearly $3,000 a year for electronics, books, household supplies, clothes and even a USB-enabled turntable. Note: The Beatles Box Set in Mono on vinyl is the way to go, by the way. And yes, we bought that through Amazon as well.

Amazon Prime is all about getting you to shop more through Amazon than with other retailers, whether they're brick-and-mortar or on-line merchants. The strategy works well since it removes the shipping fees for each purchase. You almost feel like you have to buy through Amazon to get that $99 yearly Prime subscription fee back.

So yes, as a Prime "addict" I'll be tuning in throughout Prime Day for deals. I'm betting that tens of millions will be doing the same.