Those who pay for a Prime membership (here's how to get a free Amazon Prime account) will be able to access these deals 30 minutes early. A spokeswoman said it is the first time Amazon has dropped its minimum order size to qualify for free standard shipping - which generally takes between five and eight days - to zero.
Walmart, arguably Amazon's biggest competitor in the USA, has kept its $35 minimum threshold for free shipping for this holiday season (so far, at least). The best guess is that it will run through the holiday season until a week or so before Christmas-while Amazon can still guarantee delivery by the holiday. From today, all Amazon customers qualify for free shipping with no minimum spend on "orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday". Hundreds of millions of items will therefore become eligible for free shipping. In the wake of Walmart's change, it lowered the threshold twice that same year: to $35, and then to the current non-promotional threshold of $25.
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What's more, Amazon will be offering a new way to shop its Black Friday deals, with a new AR View feature in its smartphone app allowing you to view products in situ in your home before committing to the purchase. Most notably, Target announced it is offering all of its customers free two-day shipping until December 22 with no order minimum. That means you'll start to see Black Friday deals on Amazon a whole week before the big day itself, which falls on November 23 this year. The company expects sales for the fourth quarter to be between $66.5 billion and $72.5 billion.
The National Retail Foundation forecasts holiday retail sales will climb by up to 4.8% compared to a year ago. Not to be beaten on its home turf, Amazon is already looking to counter Walmart and Target with its own bolstered free shipping. The company usually sets the final date toward the end of the season.