While Amazon shoppers had until December 18th to qualify for free standard shipping last year in order to receive their packages by Christmas, this year they have an extra day.
Amazon extended holiday shipping deadlines to December 19th for standard shipping and for free shipping on eligible orders $35 and over.
The cutoff dates for other services remain the same. Customers wanting delivery in time for Christmas must order by December 22nd for 2-day shipping (which is free with Amazon Prime). They must order by December 23rd for 1-day shipping (as low as $2.99 per item with Amazon Prime).
In some areas, shoppers can order items on December 24 and receive same-day delivery. “Customers in 12 major metro areas can choose from as many as a million eligible items for same-day delivery, order as late as 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 24 and have items delivered before Santa arrives,” Amazon said. Where available, same-day delivery costs $5.99 per shipment with Amazon Prime.
More information is available on Amazon.com/amazonholidayshipping.
The later date gives Amazon a competitive edge. Internet Retailer pointed out that of the 693 retailers in its 2014 Top 500 Guide and Second 500 Guide that currently offer free shipping, Amazon now has a later deadline for free guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery than all but 25 online merchants.
While Amazon has infrastructure and shipping-carrier agreements in place, other retailers may not want to play chicken with last-minute orders, especially after last year’s challenges in the U.S. This year, the holiday shipping calamity belongs to the UK (so far), with shipping companies there struggling to catch up from unexpectedly high volume on Black Friday weekend.