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Amazon Raises Annual Prime Price 20% to $119 (wsj.com)
37 points by sndean 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments


• Prime Video is losing selection to "channels" that require extra payment on its own platform.

• Prime shipping is no longer certain to be two days.

• Those which are assured to arrive within two days don't always do so, but I never get a credit for that delay against my prime membership for a failure to meet their SLA even though I'm supposedly covered with some sort of guarantee.

• Prime shipping is no longer certain to source from Amazon warehouses.

• "Add-on items" — items that don't ship alone because they're too small/cheap.

• "Prime Pantry" — select non-perishable everyday items which inexplicably don't qualify for prime shipping even though variants of the same item may be sold under regular Prime rules.

And worst of all: Amazon commingles Amazon-sourced with FBA merchandise. I've had numerous issues with counterfeits from "sold by Amazon" listings in the last two years because of this.

Disabled auto renewal. This broke the camel's back.

This was my experience too, I've had multiple instances of fake items or really old stock (circa 2014) showing up, and in the latter case I'd even asked beforehand to ensure I didn't end up with an older revision of the product. Ended up being a few grand worth of hardware to return, and a week and change delay to that project. Not risking buying from Amazon again!

You are forgetting one of the biggest benefits: The Amazon Prime VISA card with 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

If you are not using this card, you are leaving money on the table. This benefit is easily worth an increase of 20 bucks a year. You will still come out ahead.

Not everyone spends >$2200 per year on Amazon purchases. I do not come anywhere near that.

The great thing about Amazon is they have tons of whales. If you buy everything through Amazon it’s easy to end up with yearly spends north of $10k

I can't quite figure out what I'm paying for anymore either. I would assume it's mostly for 2 days shipping but Amazon 2 days shipping so frequently 5 days shipping these days and it's not like any other merchants don't deliver it 3-ish days anyway.

Ditto on most of the above. I think I've watched a total of two movies on Amazon Prime Video in the last year. I use Netflix and Hulu and YouTube most of the time. Plus it's not properly released on Android on Google Play, so I don't use it on my phone or tablet at all. I only use Prime for shipping and it's just not worth it anymore.

> • "Add-on items" — items that don't ship alone because they're too small/cheap.

This is the only thing Amazon has done annoying enough to get me to buy elsewhere (other than, occasionally, price comparisons).

Particularly when they started reclassifying formerly-purchasable items, that I had in my order history, as Add-Ons.

I would have grudgingly accepted that if they'd just said "sorry, they're too expensive to ahip individually" but their PR kept spinning a tale about hugely expanded range.

Instead I started buying small items on eBay, paying the small amount of postage required, which led to buying bigger things and eventually barely looking at Amazon any more.

When thinking about the cost of Prime, you need to think also of the cost of defaulting to Amazon for many purchases and not doing any price comparison. I have found that now it's fairly common to find the same item significantly cheaper elsewhere, but I just go with Amazon because of the convenience. But this convenience has a higher cost than just Prime, imho

I have noticed this with our purchases as well. Because of Prime, most of our online purchases are Amazon-first. Only when they don't carry it do we check elsewhere.

We recently cancelled because of customer service issues with Amazon, but we are close to signing up again. I'm on the fence, but my wife just assumes we'll be back on the wagon, that it's our 'default state'. It makes me wonder whether that by itself is good or bad.

This is my observation as well. Often you can find the total cost including shipping is at or under the Amazon Prime cost with free shipping. However, most of the time this means you will have to take "standard" instead of two-day shipping. Is it worth $10/mo?

Eh, Shoprunner isn't terrible. It's close, but the value more than makes up for it.

I like the idea Prime but slowly and surely Amazon is pricing people out. At $119 I have to think that it might not be worth being part of it. Do I really order that much from Amazon that paying $119 ahead of any purchases is worth it? I don't think so.

Maybe, maybe not.

I'm sure the economists at Amazon have done the analysis. Now that the market is cornered and inelastic, revenues will increase with rising prices.

Prime provides much more value than the order shipping benefit, which is part of their reason for the increase.

Then they should offer "prime light" without these "benefits".

Amazon is trying to leverage their dominant market position to enter video streaming, music streaming, ... etc.. And have customers pay higher rates on top of that. At some point that becomes abuse of monopoly.

I have it pretty much for the no limit two day shipping feature. It'd be great to have a "shipping only" version at a lower price.

What value is that?

Prime Video for example, which is their streaming video service, including original content.

Maybe for some. I never watch anything on it.

Ok? Not every service has to be worth it for everyone does it? I don't spend much money on skateboards to be honest but I don't see the need to ask sarcastic questions about their business model just because it doesn't apply to me.

Ok, let's imagine for a second that I offer a service. I will deliver any item you want to your door in two days, and I will also supply you with as much manure as you want.

Most people would like the first benefit more than the second. If you're a farmer, maybe you want the manure, but to most people that "benefit" doesn't apply. Is my average customer sarcastic in claiming that all my service offers is two day shipping? No. That's just the only part of the service they would ever care about.

I would bet that most prime customers are interested specifically in the shipping, so to them the fringe benefits are irrelevant.

Ok so you could say 'I don't see the value in Prime Video myself', rather than asking 'what value', which makes people think you are genuinely asking a question.

I'm not the person who made the original comment, just someone who found your response silly.

I'm using the generic 'you' as an indefinite pronoun.

Fair enough. Then I would say that when "I" said, "Maybe for some. I never watch anything on it," "I" had already acknowledged that not everyone saw things the same way as "me."

Again - I bet you that most people care about the shipping and nothing else. That is an important fact when considering the value prime offers.

No it doesn't. I should have asked, "besides Prime video" but I assumed that was well known enough. I was wondering if there was some lesser known benefits that might be interesting, because otherwise, with this price increase, I'll probably cancel.

You're probably not paying for a non-skateboard-related service that comes with free skateboards.

If you don't like it, don't subscribe to it. I don't see why people need to be snarky.

There are a 100m prime subscribers globally. I've found that if I were unhappy, unsubscribing will continue to leave me irrelevant, but snarky comments can enrage fans of the service/neutral observers.

That service alone isn't worth 9.99

its 100% still viable.

Our household saves more on delivery fees then annual subscription price and you get access to their movies and TV shows, plus other prime stuff (early access to items, etc.)

I think some will be turned off but it won't really be a lot of folks at the end of the day.

Our household saves more on delivery fees then annual subscription price

Are you sure? Amazon has free shipping for orders over $25, if you didn't have that "free" shipping, how many times would you pay for shipping versus consolidating multiple orders? Would you count on free 2-day shipping or order far enough ahead to get the free shipping.

I'm a long-time prime member when when my renewal comes up, I'm not sure I'm going to renew. Since I'm already a Netflix subscriber and the Amazon "free prime" catalog is worse than Netflix, prime video is not much of a draw for me

Valid points. However, I do save on shipping based on just the ease of use.

Most items on amazon I can get next day for free. Sometimes it saved my bacon (forgetting a gift or some household item) and sometimes I just get what I want faster. That aspect is very appealing to me.

If they remove the next day shipping or start charging I will reconsider because it won’t make sense to wait for stuff that I can easily go to a store and buy.

So yeah, they have free shipping but not on next day delivery.

You can also pay monthly. It's more expensive per month, but you may save over the course of the year if you bulk purchase on months you need amazon prime.

It’s also convenience. 2 days and not thinking about shipping. It’s more than just calculating the total of all you pay for shipping IMO

Many sellers offer free shipping without prime. Or offer the same item cheaper than prime with a slightly longer shipping delay.

aka several logins, several places I have to maintain credit cards for (depending on which one I get most points on), several services that can get hacked and leave my details in a public database, etc...

Not different logins. The same item, also on Amazon, sold without Prime shipping is very often cheaper than with Prime. Of course Amazon defaults to not showing you this.

Ah, I took several sellers to mean target, jet, etc. My mistake.

Another approach is you commit to the decision and make sure it is worth it. I believe that is a rational analysis.

Yeah I wouldn't even think about it for 2 seconds

It makes sense if you compare to other contemporary subscription services.

Spotify is ~$120 per year Netflix is ~$110-$130 per year

Amazon Prime comes with a plethora of auxillary benefits like Amazon Video and Music, Prime day deals, magazine subscriptions, and many more that I'm probably leaving out. Considering all this, $119 per year doesn't seem like all that much. It's still less than ten bucks a month.

Prime Music is worthless because it's not comprehensive enough to replace a better service like Spotify. Same goes for Prime Video - I haven't seen anything worthwhile that isn't available on Netflix, unless you include titles that you have to pay for separately anyway.

And I've never found anything worth buying on Prime Day - it seems like a marketing gimmick crossed with an opportunity for Amazon to clear out the junk at the back of their warehouses.

I like the convenience of Prime shipping, so I've tried to justify keeping it, but I just can't. It might be worth it if PrimeNow had a better selection in my area, or if Fresh were (1) available in my area and (2) not ludicrously expensive. As it stands, I don't get my money's worth from Prime shipping, and none of the other benefits seem to be worth using.

It's 10 bucks a month. Ok. Netflix is $10/month. Google Play/YouTube Red is $10/month. Spotify is whatever, probably about that. Now you're at $40/month. At some point your start making choices.

Amazon Prime Music removed a substantial amount of their included library. Amazon Music Unlimited adds them back in for $8/mo, or $96/year on top of your Prime subscription.

What is Prime offering again? Prime Music is a poor, unlimited trial. It was a great benefit.

From the comments so far, I just can't shake this feeling of being astroturfed to support the price increase... Is it just me?

I completely agree. The prime video library is junk and besides shipping our household gets very little value out of prime.

Ya, I don't know if they outsource these comments to the same people that do astroturfing for platforms like Facebook. These one liners just appear so out of place in a engineer-y / HN crowd to be inconspicuous.

Not just you. It's a high price and I wouldn't go for it. Don't use it enough.

It appears I'm the only person so far here who absolutely does not mind a small increase in price for Amazon Prime.

- I still get everything in two days.

- I never get third party merchandise accidentally.

- Amazon has, bar none, the best customer support and return experience of any company I've ever ordered from. Most of the time they just tell me to keep the product. If there were any issues at all, I just mention that and the return is free. Otherwise I will pay the small return shipping cost if I just decided I didn't like something.

Every now and then I have to visit a physical store for something and I wonder how much of my life I've saved ordering from Amazon, especially after I signed up for Prime which made it much more reasonable to buy pretty much everything from there.

I not only cancelled my Prime subscription last year, but I also bugged the hell out of Amazon customer support until they refunded me for the entire year as well. Word of warning; they classify really inane things as a "use" of your Prime service. 1 Amazon Music MP3 play == 1 parcel delivered. They have a limit of how many times you can "use" your service and still be refunded. I did eventually get a full refund, however.

Prime was great when it launched here in the UK, now it's so unreliable in many places that it's completely worthless. The primary reason I used it (and I used it from the very first day) was for the 1-day postage. I think it's 2 days in the US, but frankly our country is pretty tiny so it's not exactly optimistic to do 1 day delivery when the Royal Mail can get me a parcel at 9am in South Wales that was posted at 5pm in the Scottish Highlands the day before.

I had a single parcel delivered on time in the past year, all the rest would be at least a day late. I live on what is essentially a ring-road of Cardiff, and it's insanely easy to deliver to me. There's one of the older Amazon depots within about 45 minutes of my flat, and I think a new one over near Bristol now.

My apartment block has banned Amazon's couriers from leaving parcels with the concierge, because they would rock up, pretend to deliver parcels/eat their lunch, then dump 30 parcels in the concierge office. So now they just dump them outside doors, indicating when you aren't home. They can't even deliver to the Amazon Lockers nearby within the delivery window, and the lockers are nearly always full because we have so few other options.

I've spent the past few months actively seeking to purchase everything via alternative vendors in the UK, and overall, I don't miss Amazon in the slightest. Although eBuyer also sucks (no weekend customer services, wut).

I'm so glad Waterstones is back on form here too; it feels quite poetic to ditch Amazon for its original purpose as a bookstore. Good riddance to them.

Open question: what are other options to Amazon? I don't live in an area that has easy access to big box stores, so I order lots of what I use online. Who provides a good service? I'm not a fan of Walmart either, and I'll happily use Newegg for tech and Chain Reaction for bike parts, but for the generic ephemera of everyday life I'm at a total loss. Suggestions?

I've been using Target a lot lately and have been pretty happy with it. Free 2-day shipping on pretty much everything with their store credit card, with the option to painlessly pick stuff up in-store if I need it the same day. (I actually prefer this to PrimeNow since the selection is terrible in my area.) Variety is nowhere near the level of Amazon's, but the quality control is way better - I consistently get new, unopened items that match their descriptions, which is more than I can say for Amazon.

There's not really a good 1-1 comparison. Jet is closest, but has much higher prices.

Amazon’s KB article: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=...

> Starting May 11, 2018, new members will be charged $119/year for an annual Prime membership and $59/year for an annual Prime Student membership.

> Starting June 16, 2018, existing Prime members with an annual membership will renew at a rate of $119/year. Prime Student members with an annual membership will renew at a rate of $59/year.

> Monthly Prime members continue to pay $12.99 per month. Monthly Prime Student members continue to pay $6.49 per month.

I wish amazon would have a prime version of prime that would only show items that aren’t fufilled by other companies. I would pay 30% more for that. I’m on the fence on canceling prime already. The value ad is diminishing .

I think you’d be amazed how few items are ONLY shipped and sold by Amazon themselves. And if you only want to see Amazon’s offer, it’s not much better.

If it’s coming from an Amazon warehouse and has multiple sellers, you have no way of knowing who supplied the product you’re receiving. Could be Amazon, could be some random dude.

Given how often Amazon has shipped me counterfeit merchandise, I should be allowed to pay for Prime with counterfeit money.

With Amazon I feel confident that my credit card information will not be stolen, but I do not have the same level of confidence about getting legitimate products.

Still worth it for me, especially with the Amazon Prime Rewards credit card. Amazon is still usually the best price online, and 5% for Amazon purchases is hard to beat.

Not to mention they made it so Whole Foods is 5% back as well but the thing is Whole Foods is more expensive in general (probably more than 5% compared to other grocery stores).

Hard to say if I'll stay but it feels like a lot of companies are doing this. Netflix has done it as well... I feel companies are running out of ideas to scale their business and so they just say, "Wait a fucking second... our product is awesome! It's worth more!" I kind of wonder how long this will last.

Yeah, I don't use it for Whole Foods. I already have an American Express blue preferred cash back, which gets 6% on groceries. I only use the prime card for Amazon, restaurants, and places that don't take American Express.

The article is readable at http://archive.is/pqSMw.

My main reason for shopping from Amazon is that I do not want to sign up separately on many retailer's websites. E.g. target, best buy, Walmart, ...

If there is a single sign-on option which provides good enough data safety & privacy, lot of my shopping will move away from Amazon to this virtual YC 2019 company.

I think thats what google is trying to do with their service but that would not meet your privacy requirements.

I actually quit Prime after moving to San Francisco — it felt hard to justify when grocery stores and other shopping is blocks away. People forget about walking, haha. I just don’t buy enough stuff to warrant the subscription.

Prime is one of those expenses that I don't bother thinking too much about. It's in the Cost of Living category for our household at this point.

They should throw in a lighsail instance.

So I guess you must make 4 purchases per month to make this worth?

offer less, charge more. Rinse/repeat every quarter.

I don't have Prime and most packages still take only like 2 days to arrive, even though Amazon estimates that free shipping time at 7-10 days. Maybe it helps that I live in New York? Either way... lol, no way that I'd even pay for the student version of Prime.

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