Free two-day shipping for Prime members is getting a little more costly. Today, Amazon announced it has raised the monthly price of Prime almost 20 percent, from $10.99 per month to $12.99. The increase already appears on Amazon's "Manage Your Prime Membership" page.
Recode first reported the price hike, noting that the monthly Prime program for students will also increase, going from $5.49 to $6.49.
For those who have previously debated a monthly versus an annual Prime membership, the monthly price hikes make the annual option much more appealing: It will remain, for now at least, at $99. If you were to pay for the service on a month-by-month basis under the new pricing, it would ring in at almost $156 a year. The last time Amazon upped its annual membership fee was in 2014, when the price tag went from $79 to $99.
Today's increase isn't an entirely unexpected move on the e-commerce giant's part. While Amazon hasn't revealed how many Prime members it has, 2017 analyst estimates suggested the service has between 65 and 80 million subscribers. In a statement about the price change, the company attributed it to the increasing number of products eligible for free two-day shipping and the expansion of free same-day and on-day delivery to more cities. Simply put, if Amazon is going to accommodate the number of people taking advantage of these extra services, it's going to come at a price to those using it.
Although two-day shipping was the Prime component that made the service so appealing and unique when it launched in February 2005, added perks — including unlimited Prime video streaming and Amazon Music — have helped to program stay competitive. Netflix, one of Amazon's biggest streaming challengers, also increased its price in recent months.
Even though it might sting now, it's unlikely anyone will give up Prime — and the convenience of speedy toilet paper, cat food, and gummy vitamin deliveries — without serious consideration.