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Amazon is Making You Spend More to Get Free Shipping

Feb 22, 2016

Much of the allure of Amazon.com has been the fact that you can order relatively few items with free shipping to your home in just a few days. The threshold for that convenience has just been lifted.

As TechCrunch reports, Amazon (amzn) is now requiring online shoppers to spend at least $49 in order to qualify for free shipping, up from $35 previously. (Free shipping is still just $25 for books Amazon deems eligible.)

Amazon last raised the minimum spending requirement in October 2013, when it went from $25 to $35. That revenue can help offset the costs of shipping, which totaled $11.5 billion in 2015.

Of course what Amazon is likely hoping is that the higher spending requirement will result in more customers opting to buy the e-commerce giant's Amazon Prime program. Prime costs $99 a year with no minimum requirement for free shipping.

At this point, Amazon's minimum purchase requirement for free shipping isn't as compelling of an offer as some key competitors. Best Buy (bby) sets the minimum at $35, and Target's (tgt) is $25, while Walmart's (wmt) is $50.

The move by Amazon comes just a few weeks after the company reported 2015 net sales jumped 20% to $107 billion. Profit for the online retailer still remains razor thin, as net income over for the year only totaled $596 million.

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