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Amazon increases free delivery threshold far beyond shipping cost rises, says Parcelhero

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Amazon has upped the minimum spend for shoppers to qualify for free delivery from £25 to £35, and while the ecommerce giant has cited ‘external factors influencing shipping costs’ – delivery firm Parcelhero questioned if this 40% increase goes beyond rising costs.

There have been issues impacting couriers and delivery companies recently, such as rising energy and fuel prices. However, Parcelhero stressed there has been nothing obvious to warrant such a hike in Amazon’s minimum spend threshold for free delivery.

David Jinks, Parcelhero’s head of consumer research, said: “Whichever way you cut it, a 40% increase in the minimum spend threshold to qualify for free home deliveries seems steep.”

Amazon Logistics is now the second-largest UK carrier, shipping 0.9 billion parcels in 2023 – 17% of the entire UK parcels market.

“Amazon’s argument about external influences on shipping costs also seems weak because the ecommerce giant is now using the extensive logistics network it built up to fulfil Prime next-day orders, to make money as a parcel delivery company in its own right,” Jinks added.

“When it runs such an integrated service, how does it justify the new threshold? Many more non-Prime members could now find themselves facing charges of up to £4.99 on individual purchases.

“Of course, Amazon has good reasons for encouraging shoppers to join its Prime Delivery service, where the vast majority of all deliveries are entirely free. Amazon is happy to pour cash into “free” next-day deliveries, Prime Day sales, video streaming services etc, because its Prime customers are loyal; they spend twice as much as non-Prime members on the site.”

Amazon Prime membership is now £95 a year (£8.99 a month). Jinks describes this as “a sizable chunk of money to qualify for free deliveries”.

Shoppers who wish to avoid a membership fee or rising delivery charges can have purchases sent to a participating local shop or parcel locker. Thousands of products are eligible for free delivery for click & collect.

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