Economy

Amazon ups Prime membership monthly rate

Amazon ups Prime membership monthly rate

On Friday, the online retailer announced that the monthly subscription fee for the Prime service will increase from $10.99 to $12.99 - a jump of 18% - effective immediately.

Amazon gave no specific reason for the price increase, beyond a statement that it continues in its "unwavering" conviction that Prime is the best value in the history of shopping.

Last year CIRP estimated that about 19% of Prime members pay monthly. But, with Amazon's shipping costs constantly increasing, the e-commerce giant also needs to balance customer satisfaction against its own bottom line.

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Amazon says it has no preference on the annual versus monthly option. Monthly payments were already more expensive for customers than the annual price, amounting to $131.88 a year. The total yearly cost will now be $155.88.

Since introducing Prime in 2005, Amazon has raised the annual membership fee just once, to $99 from $79 in 2014. However, offering a monthly service with no contract or guarantee carries with it a cost to manage and volatility that isn't present with the more dependable annual option. "The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items". Since then, Prime membership growth has been the strongest among households making less than $50,000 annually, an R.W. Baird study found.


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