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Price hike: Amazon is about to increase Prime membership to $119 a year

Amazon will soon raise the cost of its Prime membership by £20, meaning subscribers will have to fork out £119 a year to make use of its benefits. The hike for Amazon’s shipping and entertainment package was announced during a conference call with investors on Thursday. It’ll go into effect for new sign-ups on May 11, though for renewals the higher sum will kick in a little later, on June 16.

It’s the first rise since 2014, when Prime membership increased from £79 to £99. The news of the increase in its annual Prime membership fee comes just a couple of months after Amazon bumped up the cost of its monthly fee for Prime, pushing it from £10.99 to £12.99, working out to almost £156 a year. The monthly option launched at the end of 2016 for those unable to pay the lump sum, or who want to use the service for a short time period.

It’s impossible to say what effect, if any, this latest increase will have on Prime customers. Amazon will be betting on most current members taking the hit, though the higher sum may well deter a number of people from signing up for the first time. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos surprised many last week when, for the first time since Prime’s launch in 2005, he revealed membership numbers for the service, stating that more than 100 million people globally are now signed up.

Bezos also pointed out that in 2017, Amazon shipped more than five billion items via Prime worldwide, with more people signing up to the service than in any previous year, both worldwide and in the U.S. Launching Prime in Mexico, Singapore, and the Netherlands in 2017 will certainly have given its Prime membership numbers a boost. It’s not yet clear if, or by how much, Amazon will increase the cost of its Prime services outside of the U.S.

Amazon Prime currently offers members free access to a library of online movies, TV shows, originals, and music tracks, as well as a small number of Kindle books.

A range of fast and free delivery options for orders made on its site are also a big part of the package, with members in some locations able to receive deliveries in under an hour for a fee, or in under two hours for free.

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