Amazon Prime offers free shipping and free movies and TV shows to stream for $99 per year. But does it also nudge people to shop more than they would like?
Since deciding not to renew his Amazon Prime
membership, this Reddit user said his online shopping plunged. “Since we ended our Amazon Prime membership, our online shopping dropped 50%. I also stopped [accumulating] stuff I don’t really need. Have you tried this and what were the results?” (Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment.)
Another member, SpartanMonkey, wrote, “I cut my Amazon spending by 90% when I was faced with a huge pay cut when switching jobs. I just started a new job that pays well and will put me back in the disposable income bracket. I don’t think I’ll go back to shopping like I did. Going from $26/hour. to $10/hour for a few months is a sobering experience.”
But many users say Amazon Prime makes life easier. 71-HourAhmed wrote: “I live in a small rural town. It’s an hour to any city where I can buy anything they don’t stock at Walmart
or the grocery store. I can’t imagine how crappy it would be not to have Amazon. Going to town involves waiting until Friday night or Saturday, at least ten gallons of gas, and probably eating dinner out.”
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But research suggests Amazon Prime members are more likely to spend more. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners released a report last year that found the estimated 90 million-plus U.S.-based Amazon Prime users spend $1,300 per year on purchases on the site, more than double the $700 for non-Prime members. That may be because Prime members can afford to splurge.
But owners of Amazon Echo, the voice-activated assistant, spend even more: $1,700 on Amazon, the report found. Voice shopping will account for $40 billion of consumer spending in 2022, according to research from OC&C Strategy Consultants, a global consulting firm. And while only 13% of U.S. homes have voice assistants, that’s projected to grow to 55% by 2022.
Amazon Prime offers free shipping on a massive range of products. That’s a big incentive for click-happy consumers. Nine out of 10 people said free shipping was the No. 1 reason for shopping online more often, according to the Walker Sands Future of Retail Report. And roughly half said they felt same-day shipping was a reason for shopping more online.