Amazon has raised its free shipping minimum to $49 for its non-Prime customers for most products. That’s up from $35, the first time it increased the minimum order requirement since 2013. Back then the increase was from $25 to $35. At least one category isn’t affected, though: book orders only need to hit $25 to qualify for free shipping.
This is most likely a move to push customers toward its Prime membership that offers free two-day shipping plus unlimited video streaming for a $99 a year. You can sometimes get a discount when they have certain promos. Amazon didn’t offer an explanation and didn;t make an official announcement.
Prime has proven to be an enormously powerful and profitable service for Amazon. There are now an estimated 54 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S., up from roughly 10 million as recently as 2013. Not only does Amazon cash in on all of those annual subscription fees, but, more important, Prime memberships are correlated with dramatically increased spending at Amazon.