Good news for procrastinators — Amazon.com is extending its Christmas ordering deadlines.
The Seattle online giant announced today that customers have until Dec. 19 at 11:59 p.m. ET to order qualifying items — those labeled as “ships from and sold by Amazon.com,” or “Fulfilled by Amazon.com” — and have them delivered by Christmas Eve. That’s two days later than last year’s deadline.
Those who pay $99 per year for an Amazon Prime membership have even longer to shop around for gifts, with a deadline of Dec. 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
And for the extreme procrastinators, Amazon will offer same-day delivery for packages ordered by 10 a.m. local time in 12 eligible cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Amazon will certainly hope to avoid last year’s holiday problems with UPS and FedEx, which were overwhelmed by last-minute orders and bad weather during Christmas time, causing unexpected delays in the delivery of some packages.
To prepare for the holiday rush, Amazon is hiring 80,000 seasonal workers this year, up 14 percent from 2013. The company is also aggressively expanding fulfillment centers — it now has more than 100 worldwide — as Amazon adds more products and looks to accelerate the speed at which it delivers goods to customers. Some of the newer centers have high-tech robots that Amazon recently spotlighted.
Again, here are the ordering deadlines:
- Dec. 19: Free Shipping
- Dec. 22: Two-Day Shipping
- Dec. 23: One-Day Shipping
- Dec. 24: Same-Day Delivery (order as late as 10:00 a.m. local time)
Update, Dec. 19: For select Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, Amazon is offering free two-day shipping through 4 p.m. PT on Dec. 22, and free one-day shipping on Dec. 23 until 12 p.m. PT for all customers (not just Prime members).