Amazon Free Shipping Minimum: Now It’s $49

Now, the Amazon free shipping minimum is $49. As of Monday, Amazon raised the free shipping minimum from $35 to $49. The last increase in the Amazon free shipping minimum was in 2013, with a $10 jump from $25 to $35.

According to updated shipping options on Amazon’s website, book orders will still ship for free at the same $25 minimum. However, all other orders will now ship for free at a minimum of $49 instead of $35. That is, all eligible items will ship for free at $49. What constitutes an eligible item? Eligible items are clearly marked with a free shipping message on product detail pages.

Amazon fulfills and ships all eligible items in orders that qualify for the free shipping minimum. What used to be called free super saver shipping but is now simply free shipping by Amazon usually takes five to eight business days compared to standard shipping of three to five business days. Customers used to not mind having to wait an extra few days for an Amazon order to arrive in exchange for free shipping.

Who wouldn’t like to be able to order just a few items from Amazon’s inventory of over 200 million products and get free shipping in return? Customers have been complaining more and more lately that Amazon’s free shipping is taking longer than the promised five to eight business days. One theory is that free shipping orders are usually grouped into as few deliveries as possible, which can take longer than shipping each item as it becomes available.

Another theory is that smaller add-on items and items on backorder tend to hold up fulfillment times for orders that qualify for the Amazon free shipping minimum. In fact, Amazon customers who utilize the free shipping option say orders have been arriving on average two days later than the estimated delivery date.

“Amazon shipping has been a joke for awhile now. Of the 5 packages I’ve ordered from them in the past few months, not a single one arrived when it was supposed to, they all showed up at least 2 days after the given date on the tracker,” commented one disgruntled Amazon customer on a Lifehacker report.

What exactly is Amazon’s intention for raising the free shipping minimum by nearly an extra $15? Does Amazon want customers to view free shipping as less and less favorable?

According to Wired, Amazon isn’t being forthright with an explanation as to why the free shipping minimum was suddenly and quietly raised over the weekend. One Amazon spokeswoman said that from time to time, Amazon just simply reviews shipping options. But reports from last year’s holiday quarter showed that Amazon’s cost of shipping items for free jumped nearly 2 percent from 10.9 percent of total holiday sales to 12.5 percent.

Amazon is reportedly losing money on free shipping, and may be trying to offset that cost by increasing the free shipping minimum, thus causing fewer and fewer customers to go that route. However, Prime customers also receive free shipping. Recode is suggesting that non-Prime members are now helping to foot the cost of shipping for Amazon Prime members, who still receive free two-day shipping.

But do Prime members really get shipping for free? The Wall Street Journal estimates that Prime members actually end up spending double what non-members do over the course of a full year. Prime members pay $99 every year for free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, as well as select streaming on Amazon Video, and free reading on Kindle via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

But Amazon Prime doesn’t include every Kindle book, TV show, or movie for free. Prime members still end up paying for some digital content. Prime members also lose money if they don’t shop online enough, or buy products from independent third-party vendors that don’t fall into the qualified items category that is eligible for free Prime shipping.

Tens of millions of people are currently Amazon Prime members. Amazon reportedly makes most of its profits from the Amazon Prime yearly membership fee, and it appears that customers are now being pushed towards paying for Amazon Prime, especially with Monday’s 40 percent increase in the Amazon free shipping minimum.

[Image via YouTube/Techquickie]