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65% of Shoppers Won't Pay More for Amazon Prime

An overwhelming majority of readers said they would cancel Prime if Amazon raises the cost, although some would support a tiered pricing plan.
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Just days after Amazon broke the news that it may raise the cost of its popular Prime shipping service by $20 or as much as $40, consumers have taken to the Internet to voice their opinion. In a DealNews survey, 65% of readers polled said they would not pay more for Amazon's 2-day shipping service. While many found it hard to justify a higher price, others claimed a lack of new content on Amazon Instant Video, coupled with the price hike, as reason enough to quit.

A Netflix Scenario in the Making

The last company to create such a commotion over a price hike was Netflix back in September of 2011 when it said it would split its digital and DVD-only services into two companies. Thanks to social media (and a lot of subscription cancellations), Netflix quickly retracted its plans.

It's still uncertain whether Amazon will indeed raise the cost of Prime, but one thing is for sure — it hasn't won over public support. As one of our readers pointed out, "Some people, slapped with a 25% to 50% increase, can become offended. Why risk the the same type of revolt that Netflix had?" Pile this on top of last year's flurry of missed shipments and Prime delays, and some consumers might start wondering if they need the service at all.

Tiered Pricing a Possible Solution?

While the overwhelming majority of readers said they would cancel their Prime membership should a price hike occur, a few readers contemplated keeping their subscription if Amazon were to separate its on-demand video service from Prime. With tiered pricing, consumers who want both on-demand video and Prime shipping would pay the higher rate, while those who want just 2-day shipping could potentially stay with their current rate.

Other readers said they wouldn't mind an increase so long as it remains at or under $100 per year, or if it would grant them further value like same-day delivery on select items or a richer library of streaming content. Though we're still years away from Prime Air, Amazon's drone shipping service that promises deliveries within minutes after purchase, the e-tailer does offer same-day delivery on certain products in select cities, which could sweeten the Prime price tag.

As it currently stands though, the majority of shoppers are unwilling to subscribe to Prime if it costs more than $79, and only a meager 12% said they would indeed pay more if necessary. (An indecisive 22% just said "maybe.") Thus, Amazon will have to tread lightly as it considers what to do about Prime pricing.


Senior Features Writer

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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18 comments
married2lori
UPS, Fedex, etc., is in our drive way 4x per week because,when I think of something I need, I whip out my smartphone, order it on Amazon, and in two days I have it. $100 a year for that? I'd pay more for gas.
Pilm
Amazon's competitiveness is being eroded on multiple fronts:
1) having to charge sales tax in more and more states
2) higher shipping expenses
3) giving away Kindles at either no profit or even a loss
4) raising free shipping from $25 to $35
5) now a likely increase in prime membership by $20 to $40
Brick and mortar stores must be drooling big time!!
Ice123
If amazon raises the price by $20 it would only be about $2 extra each month.I don't understand how that is a lot at all,considering you get fast two day shipping on almost everything and plus you get streaming movies(a better selection would be nice).Most of these people are just complainers who wouldn't renew their membership anyway.The last time I sold something online,it cost $10 to ship a 2lb box using Standard shipping.Shipping carriers raising prices=amazon raising prices.Seems fair to me.Please respond if I am wrong?
BboJim
I'd be fine with standard shipping over 2 day shipping if it meant they wouldn't raise the price. I really don't need 2 day shipping on my items.
pottsgw
At a minimum, I will defer my renewal from its current summer timeframe to the second half of the Xmas shopping season -- that'll overlap with the first half of the next Xmas season, and J.B. will only get 1 year of dues out of me for the span of 30 months, or probably lose me as a subscriber forever at that point.
pottsgw
$80 already seems steep to me, but they've had some series available for streaming that I wanted to rewatch straight through so that's been the selling point for me. I'm in my 3rd year of subscribing, and there's not nearly enough new video content to stream to make it worth it -- especially with amazon's atrocious web design that makes it impossible to meaningfully browse.

Coupled with their increasing use of the incompetent USPS, I don't see us getting what we're paying for on the shipping side either.

They're screwing us with their "addon" items, requiring a minimum order even if they're already packing a box for you under the Prime agreement.

And don't get me started on their Subscribe and "Save" scam, where you don't know what price you'll be paying, even for the first shipment if your order.
wood1028
You all know what happened to Amazon earnings for the last quarter. It may not be obvious but deep down when Amazon increased their free shipping from $25 to $35, though it does not sound big deal but customers like me who used to put together few items for a total of $25 for free shipping has hard time to come up with $35. So, I stopped shopping like before at Amazon. I am sure many buyers might have similar situation one or other time. So, if amazon increases for prime membership than they will see impact of buyers not ordering as many time as before. This seems same history repeating as Netflix started for the DVD and on-line and they had to reverse it later.
timothyf7
Dliver420, I don't know what kind of research you did on the subject, but there is a flood of information on the subject. Time, Marketwatch, Christian Science Monitor, PC Mag, CNet, and many, many more sources are reporting the same thing, most from 3 days ago. Instead of accusing others of not doing research, maybe....hmmmm.
boidsonly
Effective 1 Jan I now pay taxes on Amazon-I have since quit ordering products from Amazon and just use them to get another business to price match.
An increase for Prime would be a double whammy for me. I have since called Amazon customer service and canceled my auto renewal for Prime (since you cannot cancel auto renewal on line).
My cancellation will not have any net effect on Amazon's bottom line but I will decide what to do with my hard earned money-not Amazon.
Slaz5
I usually find better deals on eBay for certain things, or just go to the store for certain others because I like seeing stuff in person still. No I am not some 40 year old guy stuck in my ways, I am only 24. But I wouldn't pay for Prime either way, because if I need something on the cheaper side, under $35, I will just go to the store near my house and pay the extra $.50.
So to then expect people to pay $100+ for PRIME, you would have to do A LOT of buying just to justify the price and make up for the shipping, which will incline you to spend more than you otherwise would on stuff you probably don't need.
dealnews-Lindsay
@thedme That is 100% true, and it will likely depend on how much they increase the price by. The potential numbers they quoted though are surprising.
shill13
@ DLiver420 If you're here for deals....why are you reading articles? Seems like a relatively well written article with enough sources to verify the information.

Sounds like someone's worried that they won't be able to afford the Amazon price hike...
rpatter2
Another option tiered pricing option I think Amazon should consider is being able to choose cheaper prime options in exchange for slower free shipping. For example, I have Prime right now, and I always choose the free 2 day shipping over the free 3 day shipping because there's no incentive for me to choose the free 3 day shipping, and I'm impatient. However, I would be fine with $80/yr prime even if they downgraded everything to free 3 day shipping rather than 2. Or maybe you pay the $100/yr but each time you choose the free 3 day shipping rather than the 2, you get a small refund or credit or something so that if you do it enough times your prime subscription comes out to $80/yr again.
In other words, there are plenty of things that I buy on Amazon and get free 2 day shipping on that I would be just as happy getting in 3 or even 5 days with free shipping.
Rawmeat
@ DLiver420 Did you Google it? I just entered "amazon raising price prime". Lot's of resources for you.
dealnews-Lindsay
@DLiver420 The Verge article is pretty explicit about where the information came from. "Amazon today said it's "considering" raising the price of its $79 per year Prime service to customers in the US by another $20 to $40. The possible increase — which has not been finalized — was announced during the company's fourth quarter earnings call with analysts, and due to higher costs of shipping goods, Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak said."
thefuzz
Here ya go DLiver420 http://www.marketwatch.com/...rice-hike-2014-01-31

In the second paragraph, CFO Tom Szkutak, is quoted about the increase. Seems pretty verifiable to me...
thedme
What people say they will do, or not do, is not always what they will end up doing.
DLiver420
Despite trying to find an original source for your story, I have had no luck finding ANY verifiable information regarding an Amazon Prime price hike. This article links to another dealnews article which links to a very short article on theverge.com that doesn't list any specifics. It reads as something you would expect from a NY Post blog posting ("Somebody told me that they heard that Amazon was thinking about raising the price of Prime.) That article doesn't link to any information at all. All it does is leave a pile of unanswered questions. For example: Is the price hike for new customers only? Has the board of directors even discussed the possibility of raising the cost, or is this purely speculation from Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak?
If you're going to foray into the world of journalism, you need to source information (and possibly add information) before simply reprinting it. Otherwise, stick to deals (you know, the one thing each and every one of us is here for.)
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