What The Tech: Amazon Prime Costs

 

CHARLOTTE, NC — A second “Amazon Prime Day”, actually called Prime Early Access Sale, is another shopping holiday invented by the online retail giant. It is a 48-hour shopping event that starts on October 11th and the discounts are only available for Amazon Prime members. The latest numbers from Amazon show some 200 million people worldwide are Prime members.

Of course, Amazon is offering discounts and free trials to entice even more people to pay $139/year for Prime benefits.

Like most people, I subscribed to Amazon Prime years ago, when it was just $79 a year. At that price, it was a no-brainer for shoppers because of the two-day free shipping. As the cost went up, the free shipping, for many shoppers doesn’t add up to the $139 a year they pay.

To check the math, I compared prices using a Prime account, and a non-Prime Amazon account. For my research, I found a Canon Rebel T7 camera that is $479 without Prime and it’s the same price for people with a Prime subscription. There’s no shipping charge for either customer because Amazon offers all shoppers free shipping on items that costs more than $25.

How much is shipping for things under $25? A children’s puzzle is priced at $17 for all shoppers but non-prime members will pay $6 for shipping. So, doing the math, you’ll need to make 24 purchases for items under $25 to break even on the cost of a $140 Prime membership.

Amazon Prime members do get discounts on certain items and “Deals of the Day”. There are special discounts available only to Prime members on Prime Days and the upcoming “Prime Early Access Sale”. Keep in mind though that Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and others will match many Amazon prices. Those retailers also offer free shipping for items over $25 or $35. So, shipping alone isn’t worth the extra cost for Prime.

There are other benefits though that make Amazon Prime memberships worth the money. Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music can replace Netflix and Spotify. Prime members also get a free Kindle book loan each month and video gamers can get free games on Twitch.

The bottom line: If you’re only using Amazon for shopping, you might want to check out other subscription packages such as Walmart’s version, Walmart+, which costs $98 a year. It includes free delivery from your local Walmart store, a subscription to Paramount Plus, free shipping for orders online, and discounts at Walmart gas stations.