Bad news for Amazon Prime subscribers who pay monthly: The online retail giant is raising prices by nearly 20 percent.
While an annual subscription to the service remains at $99, monthly prices are jumping from $10.99 to $12.99 in the U.S., which works out to an increase of 18 percent, costing a total of $156 per year. The price change goes into effect on February 18.
The monthly payment option was introduced less than two years ago as a way to offer the service to those for whom a single payment of $99 is a hardship or preferred a month-to-month commitment, according to Recode. "Since then, Prime membership growth has been the strongest among households making less than $50,000 annually, an R.W. Baird study found," writer Jason Del Ray notes.
Prime members are Amazon's bread and butter—they're known to spend more and shop more frequently on the site—so apparently, the original monthly price became unsustainable. Amazon said in a statement to Recode:
The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. We also continue to introduce new, popular and award-winning Prime Originals...Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more.
A discounted month-to-month membership for students—launched in the fall of 2017—is also getting a price bump, from $5.49 to $6.49. Business Insider reports that the company's program for those on government assistance, which offers Prime for $5.99 to anyone with an EBT card, is not facing a price increase.