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Amazon Extends Holiday Free-Shipping Period

Amazon is fast becoming the patron saint of holiday procrastinators.

The online retailer has extended its free shipping offer until Dec. 18 for all customers and with no minimum purchase. Prime customers will benefit from free two-hour deliveries through midnight on Christmas Eve, if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the 30 cities that offer the Prime Now service.

If not, most Prime members will receive free one-day shipping through Dec. 23. Same-day delivery in eligible areas can be ordered up until 9:30am local time on Dec. 24.

Amazon kicked off the holiday season by announcing in early November it was waiving its minimum order condition for free shipping. Normally, non-Prime members must spend $25 to qualify.

Other retailers, including Target, are also waiving shipping costs, hoping to capitalize on the rise in online shoppers.

So far this year, consumers have spent $80 billion in online shopping, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s an 18.6% increase, or nearly $13 billion, against the same time period in 2017.

If spending keeps up at this pace, Adobe predicts overall holiday online spending will top $124 billion this year.

Amazon, meanwhile, is willing to eat shipping and delivery costs if it results in higher sales. From 2015 to 2017, the company’s total shipping expenses nearly doubled to $21.7 billion.