Amazon announced that its customers saved about $2 billion on shipping costs this holiday season, thanks to its Prime two-day shipping program as well as its free shipping offer for orders over $35. The company also reported that Amazon shipped 100 million more items for free this year than it did the last.
Senior Vice President of Amazon, Jeff Wilke, said in the company announcement, "This holiday season, Amazon shoppers saved billions through free shipping, and even more through our low prices. We are especially excited that 10 million new customers tried Amazon Prime for the first time."
Amazon reports that free two-day shipping through Amazon Prime has become the preferred delivery method of its customers over the course of the last few years. Membership costs $99 per year, and includes the free two-day shipping on eligible items.
In August, the company also launched a Free Economy Shipping option, and urged all their sellers to offer free shipping to customers, thereby increasing sales.
Following Amazon's announcement about the $2 billion in customer savings, Consumerist pointed out that much of this figure represents imaginary savings. This is because the promise of free shipping encourages buyers to purchase products online that they would usually buy in a brick-and-mortar store, like paper towels and shampoo. So, free shipping was good for Amazon's sales but that doesn't mean that customers would actually have spent that $2 billion on shipping. Instead, they would have simply taken their business to physical stores and not spent anything on delivery services.
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