Most people know that Amazon devices, including Fire TV models, go on sale very frequently. While it may seem like they’re on sale all the time or on sale more often than they aren’t on sale, that’s not actually the case. However, the Fire TV Stick 4K is changing that because, lately, it has actually been on sale more days than it hasn’t. The likely reason is pressure from Roku’s new Express 4K+ which is aggressively priced to undercut the Fire TV Stick 4K. That could have negative repercussions for Amazon’s next budget 4K Fire TV model.
I track Amazon device sales, especially Fire TV sales, very closely to keep my Buyer’s Guide deal ratings accurate. While it may seem like Fire TVs are always on sale, in reality, they typically only go on sale for about a week every 1 or 2 months. For example, during May and June last year, the Fire TV Stick 4K was on sale for 7 days and it was on sale for 15 days during that 2 month period in 2019. During May and June of this year, the Fire TV Stick 4K was on sale for 51 out of the 61 days.
Some might say Amazon is clearing out stock for a new model, given that the Fire TV Stick 4K is the oldest model in the current Fire TV lineup, but that’s not typically how Amazon operates. More often than not, when a new model is released, Amazon simply drops the price of the older model until it sells out. We very rarely see an uptick in sales just prior to a new model being released. If an existing Amazon device goes out of stock for no apparent reason, while it doesn’t always happen, that is usually the best indicator that a new model is coming, not sales.
Other Fire TV models have not seen the same uptick in sales as the Fire TV Stick 4K has. My best guess for this is the newly added pressure from the release of Roku’s Express 4K at $34.99 and Express 4K+ at $39.99. The more frequent Fire TV Stick 4K salses started a couple of weeks after the Roku Express 4K was released. Amazon’s least expensive 4K streamer is the Fire TV Stick 4K at $49.99, so it seems like Amazon is keeping it on sale at $39.99 or less most of the time to compete with Roku on price.
Prior to the release of the Express 4K, Roku’s least expensive 4K streamer was the Roku Premiere at $39.99. While it was also cheaper than the Fire TV Stick 4K, it had a far more inferior remote that didn’t have voice capabilities or TV controls, so it was understandable that the Fire TV Stick 4K would cost a bit more. The new Roku Express 4K+ changed things because it has a nearly equally capable remote and it maintains the cheaper $39.99 price. There’s also the Roku Express 4K for $34.99, which is a Walmart exclusive that uses the inferior remote. These two models compete much more closely with the Fire TV Stick 4K in the budget 4K streamer market, which is why I think Amazon is being so aggressive with its streamer’s sales lately.
The Fire TV Stick 4K is still a superior product in a few ways, such as support for Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, and input switching on the remote to name a few, but Roku has certainly closed the gap with the release of the Express 4K+. My concern is that Amazon will decide to cut features out of its next budget 4K Fire TV model in order to match Roku’s aggressive pricing. Hopefully, Amazon will release a “Lite” 4K model, that matches Roku’s price, along with a regular model that doesn’t compromise on features, for those of us that don’t mind paying a bit more for a better device. Just like it did with last year’s Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite release.