- Target, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy are all offering free shipping this holiday season, but shoppers should read the fine print.
- Retailers are unleashing perks to get customers to choose them over competitors.
- Much of this year’s holiday sales growth is predicted to come from online shopping.
The holidays are almost here, and so is peak shopping season.
Retailers often take the gloves off around the holidays, supercharging their online offerings with perks like free shipping and hot deals to get customers to shop with them over a competitor. It all adds up to more quick and free shipping than ever.
We compared the shipping offerings from four of the most popular online shopping destinations to see which one is offering the best options, all else being equal.
- Olivia Reaney/Business Insider
Some stores, like Walmart, have not announced any changes to their shipping policies for the holidays.
Walmart will still offer free two-day shipping with any order of $35 or more, a policy it enacted in early 2017. That’s the highest order requirement among the major players. Walmart recently announced an expansion to the number of items that it offers for free two-day shipping. The offer now includes items from select third-party marketplace sellers.
Amazon announced on Monday it will offer free shipping for all customers, without a minimum-order requirement. The promo is only good for its super-saver shipping – the slowest guaranteed time – which is good for five to eight days from the time of shipment.
Amazon Prime members will still get their two-day shipping guarantee, but as usual, the membership requires customers first spend $119 for an annual subscription or $12.99 for a monthly one.
Best Buy is offering free shipping all season long, but it is not guaranteeing that customers will receive their packages in a set number of days. Customers will get a delivery date based on what they’re ordering and where they’re located. The promotion is valid through December 25.
Target has stepped it up this year, however, offering by far the best free shipping perk through the holidays. Not only is shipping completely free from November 1 until December 22 for all orders, with no minimum requirement, but the store is also guaranteeing that packages will arrive two days after shipment.
It makes sense that retailers are pulling out all the stops to own the holiday season online.
Most of this year’s sales growth is likely to come from online purchases. Forrester Research is predicting 14% sales growth online but only 1.7% growth in stores. Analysts estimated that Amazon took nearly half of all online retail sales in 2017, and that it will account for even more this year.
Forrester estimates that online holiday sales will account for more than 32% of all online sales for the year.