Amazon has dropped the threshold for free shipping for non-Prime members to orders of $25 or more, down from a $35 minimum.
Amazon made the change quietly, updating a support page with the new number. It is the second time Amazon has lowered the non-Prime free-shipping threshold this year. Amazon dropped the free-shipping minimum back to $35 one year after it increased the threshold to $49 per order, and a few weeks after Walmart introduced its new $35 minimum order policy for free shipping.
Amazon confirmed the change and said more than 50 million items across all categories qualify for free shipping. According to the support page, any item Amazon fulfills and ships itself that includes a “free shipping” tag on the product detail page counts toward the $25 order minimum.
Free shipping is a tricky issue for Amazon, fueling sales but also requiring the company to absorb significant costs. Amazon’s net loss on shipping — the difference between what Amazon charges customers for shipping and what the company spends to get those items to customers — reached an all-time high of nearly $7.2 billion in 2016, according to GeekWire’s analysis of Amazon’s financial results.
The trend is toward more and more free shipping. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted in the company’s year-end earnings release that more than 50 million items are now eligible for free two-day shipping, an increase of 73 percent from the previous year. Much of that increase is driven by the company’s $99/year Prime membership program, which has no minimum for free shipping on eligible items.