The last time Amazon raised its free shipping minimum was from $25 to $35 in 2013.
While shoppers ordering $25 worth of eligible books can still qualify for free shipping, the increase is clearly designed to push people to sign up for Prime.
With non-Prime free shipping, it can take orders (once all items are available) up to eight days to ship. Prime, meanwhile, is a $99-per-year program that offers free one- and two-day shipping on most purchases, among other services.
But the decision isn’t jibing with consumers. Amazon didn’t announce the minimum threshold hike, but rather updated its “special shipping options” page on its website and Reddit users noticed it last weekend.
“I will go to eBay and save on tax,” one commenter wrote. “$50 is too much.” Another said, “I don’t like how Amazon made this change without saying a word. A lot of other stores do free shipping at $50 as well—and most will even offer expedited shipping at that speed. This doesn’t sound like a good move from a competitive standpoint. Why use Amazon when the same price and faster shipping can be found almost anywhere else?”
Last month, Amazon said that paid Prime memberships increased 51 percent worldwide throughout 2015, while roughly 54 million of the service’s subscribers are said to be in the U.S. The new minimum purchase threshold for non-Prime members could be the Seattle-based company’s attempt to control fulfillment costs, which increased from $10.8 billion to $13.4 billion in the year ended Dec. 31.