- Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider
- Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider
- Amazon Prime increased the price of an annual membership to $119.
- Amazon Prime has over 100 million members globally, according to Jeff Bezos.
- Paying for a membership allows you to shop online quickly with free delivery.
- Whether Amazon Prime is worth it depends on how you weigh the pros and cons.
Amazon Prime just increased the cost for an annual membership, from $99 to $119. The $20 hike matches the increase from $79 Prime customers saw in 2014.
Yet, over 100 million people worldwide think Amazon Prime is worth the cost.
In his latest letter to shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos shared that Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members globally. The Wednesday news was the first time the company revealed how many people paid for the premium service.
The 100 million figure is significant for Amazon Prime, the service which costs $12.99 a month or $119 for an entire year. With their membership, users get free and fast shipping on Amazon purchases, a large collection of books, songs, and movies, and other deals and exclusive offers.
However, that doesn’t mean Prime’s perks are worth it for everyone. It may not be for you, but it may also be perfect for you.
Below, weigh the pros and cons to see if joining the 100 million members of Amazon Prime is worth the cost.
Pro: Free shipping
- Darren Weaver
One of the initial perks of Prime and a cornerstone of the brand is the free shipping. For people who shop online a lot, shipping fees can really pile on. But Prime membership eliminates that cost for over 100 million items, with just a few exceptions.
Pro: Fast shipping
- Reuters/Lucas Jackson
While two-day shipping is the Prime standard, other options can get your package home even sooner. Amazon has one-day and same-day shipping for millions of products in many cities and two-hour delivery for groceries and essentials. Prime users also get release date delivery for many new entertainment products.
Pro: Stream Prime Video
If you are bored with Netflix’s offerings, you can check out Prime Video which is included with an Amazon Prime account. Streaming is available on any device for hundreds of movies and TV shows including Prime originals like “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.”
Pro: Prime exclusive brands
Prime users have access to products unavailable to regular users. An entire section of Amazon’s site is devoted to brands that only offer products to Prime users, including several owned by Amazon.
Pro: Special deals and savings
- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Starting with 20% discounts on diapers and baby food through Amazon Family, Prime opens up a world of exclusive deals. Prime also racks up additional savings and offers deals on many pre-sale items.
Pro: Free Prime reading
Amazon began as an on-line book store, so it makes sense Prime has benefits for readers. Prime Reading gives users a library of books, magazines, news stories, and more for phones, tablets, or Amazon Kindles.
Pro: Unlimited photo storage
Prime Photos stores all of your photos for free so you no longer have to worry about saving all of your pictures on your phone with limited space. Photos also organizes every picture with a robust search function that can be used on any device.
Pro: Twitch Prime for gamers
- Reuters/ Ina Fassbender
For frequent players of video games, Prime offers something special. Twitch Prime gamers get free in-game loot every month and other exclusive surprises within their computer games. Users of Twitch Prime also get to stream the platform ad-free.
Pro: Prime Music
- Garry Knight / Flickr, CC
Prime Music lets you listen to two million songs on any device while picking from curated playlists and personalized stations.
Pro: Audio channels with Audible
Amazon Prime members just need to download the Audible app and start listening. Users have unlimited access to channels with scores of audio programs and are entitled to one free audiobook every month.
Pro: Rewards card
- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Prime members are entitled to a Rewards Visa Card which offers 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods. The Prime Rewards Card also unlocks 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores with 1% back on all other purchases.
Con: Raised prices
- Flickr / David Goehring
An annual membership now costs $119 and the price of a monthly Prime membership was recently bumped up from $10.99 to $12.99. Student prices also became more expensive.
Con: Prime Music is limited
- REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
While Prime users do have access to two million ad-free songs, that is not much. Amazon’s Music Unlimited is more of a competitor to Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music but the premium service costs an additional $7.99 a month for Prime users. Music Unlimited is also not viewed favorably compared to its competitors.
Con: Amazon Video is no Netflix
While Amazon Video has plenty on its platform, it does not have the quality or quantity of content that Netflix and Hulu have. Many shows and movies are only available to rent or buy, so while Amazon Video is a nice feature, it’s not a replacement for other streaming services.
Con: Prime isn’t worth it if you aren’t a big shopper
- Getty/Stephanie Keith
Prime can easily make sense for people who spend a lot of time and money shopping. However, if you are an infrequent shopper, the price may not be worth it for the free shipping.
Con: Privacy concerns
Right now, tech companies don’t have the greatest reputation for protecting consumers’ privacy. Amazon is a wide network that knows what you are buying, listening to, and countless other details. Especially with its foray into healthcare, Amazon Prime members may very well fear for their privacy.
Con: No more testing products
- Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Some people are resistant to online shopping because they like to see and touch what they are about to buy. For many people, switching to e-shopping for things like clothes and groceries may just be too much to bare.
Con: Encourages unnecessary purchases
Due to the free shipping and easy ability to go from browsing to check out, Prime users can end up buying a lot of unnecessary products that go to waste. This ease of spending can lead to big expenses and a pile full of unused junk.