(NEW YORK) — Amazon is doubling down on Prime Day, saying on Tuesday its annual make-down event for Prime members will be held July 15 and 16, after being a single-day event in years past.”Prime Day 2019 will feature more than one million deals globally, including the biggest Prime Day deals ever on Alexa-enabled devices,” Amazon said in a press release. It will start at midnight on July 15.Some consumer research groups consider Prime Day a kick-off for the back-to-school shopping season.Surveyed parents said they shop an average of 11 retailers during Prime Day sales, according to discount shopping firm RetailMeNot. In addition, 84 percent of retailers said the week of Prime Day is the most important window for back-to-school shopping.This year’s lineup underscores the company’s focus on its Alexa smart assistant, as it pushes steep discounts on products that enable Amazon technologies to keep customers in its ecosystem.Some deals are available now until June 30, including an Alexa-enabled Toshiba HD 43-Inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV for $179.99 — a $120 savings — and the myQ Smart Garage Hub + Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition), which enables in-garage Amazon deliveries and is currently offered at $99.98, a discount of 40 percent.Amazon first started Prime Day 2015 to mark its 20th anniversary, and it was promoted as a kind of summer Black Friday event. This year, customers in the United Arab Emirates can shop the event for the first time, as well as shoppers in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and Australia.It’s also a day that promotes Prime membership, which costs $119 a year.There are 101 million Amazon Prime members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners in 2019. In 2018, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wrote in a shareholders letter that they have “exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally.” Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.