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Amazon Lowers Free Shipping Threshold to $25 The $10 drop is a boon for non-Prime customers who don't mind waiting for their shipments to arrive, but it comes as Walmart has upped the free shipping ante.

By Tom Brant

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

After lingering at $35 and ranging as high as $49, Amazon's free shipping threshold has returned to $25, a sign that the online retailer is prepared to defend its core business even as it branches out into digital subscriptions and a growing array of consumer electronics devices.

The lower threshold is a boon for casual Amazon shoppers who are not Prime members: they can add millions of eligible items to their shopping carts (typically those sold or fulfilled directly by Amazon.com) and enjoy free shipping on orders greater than $25.

Now that numerous other online retailers now offer $35 free shipping thresholds, including Target and Jet.com, Amazon's decision to lower its threshold to the original $25 might seem generous.

But before you rush to place orders that have languished while you searched for additional items to meet the former $35 threshold, consider that Amazon is no longer the king of free shipping online. That title now arguably belongs to Walmart, which recently introduced free two-day shipping on orders over $35. Amazon's free shipping option, meanwhile, can take up to eight days if you aren't a Prime member.

In fact, Amazon's decision to raise its free shipping threshold to the high watermark of $49 in early 2016 was arguably a way to incentivize more people to sign up for the $99-per-year Prime membership, which offers free two-day shipping with no minimum orders on eligible items, in addition to numerous other benefits. It was also a way to keep rising shipping costs in check. Amazon later returned the threshold to $35, where it had been since the first $10 raise in October 2013.

Tom Brant

News reporter

Tom is PCMag's San Francisco-based news reporter. 

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