E-commerce giant Amazon has revealed their new strategy to boost sales this holiday season: free shipping to all customers. In the continued fight between traditional brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers, Amazon has not said if and when the promotion will end but has hinted that the program is “limited.”
This marks the very first time that Amazon has done away with the minimum order total required for users to receive its free super-saver shipping tier option. If you are unfamiliar, this minimum free-shipping qualifying amount has continued to drop over the past few years, starting at $49, now at $25. This move, of course, might have been in direct response to Walmart’s January 2017 announcement of free 2-day shipping with every order totaling at least $35.
Amazon’s latest move might have something to do with big box stores announcing their plan to offer free shipping this holiday season. Obviously, that is a major attempt by brick-and-mortar retailers to take back some, at the very least, of the shoppers who have been slowly migrating to the online market, especially around the holidays.
For example, just last month, Target announced plans to offer free 2-day shipping to all customers until December 22. And this promotion is available with no order minimum. In addition, major electronics big-box retailer Best Buy has done away with its free-shipping minimum, though they have not detailed if and when this promotion will end.
Amazon, of course, continues to be on track to lead online holiday shopping sales. In fact, analysts estimate that Amazon controlled roughly one-half of all online retail sales in 2017; of course, that ratio will likely grow this year.
Accordingly, most of this year’s retail sales growth will probably come from the web. As a matter of fact, Forrester Research predicts online sales growth of about 14 percent and only 1.7 percent growth in stores, this year. The firm also estimates that online holiday sales will more than likely account for at least 32 percent of all online sales for the entire year.
In addition, the National Retail Federation estimates holiday retail sales in the final two months of the year will rise by roughly 4.6 percent over last year, totaling between $717.45 and $720.89 billion. In the last five years, the average annual holiday retail sales increase has been less than 4 percent.