Merry Christmas to us: Amazon (AMZN) is waiving its minimum order size for free shipping this holiday season.
Normally, non-Prime members have a $25 minimum spend to get free shipping on their Amazon order. As of today through shortly before Christmas, all U.S. shoppers will get free standard shipping for the first time since the company introduced free shipping in 2002.
It’s the latest escalation in the Christmas e-commerce war. Just last month, Target (TGT) announced it was waiving its usual $35 minimum order to offer free two-day shipping to everyone from Nov. 1 to Dec. 22. Walmart (WMT) has so far maintained its $35 order minimum for free shipping.
Amazon is doing everything it can to get sales to pick up in the final quarter of the year. Last week’s earnings forecast warned revenue growth for Q4 might be 10% to 20%; analysts had previously expected 22%. If boosting sales means taking a bath on delivery costs, so be it. From 2015 to 2017, Amazon’s total shipping expenses nearly doubled to $21.7 billion.
Forrester Research expects US online holiday retail sales to increase by 14% from last season, growing from $129 billion last year to $151 billion in 2018. The National Retail Federation expects overall spending in the U.S. this holiday season to increase by 4.3% to 4.8% to $717 billion to $721 billion.