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Amazon increases the price of Prime nearly 17% to $139 per year

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An Amazon delivery worker pulls a delivery cart full of packages during its annual Prime Day promotion in New York City, June 21, 2021.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Amazon is raising the price of its annual Prime membership to $139 from $119, the company announced on Thursday as part of its fourth-quarter earnings results.

Amazon last hiked the price of Prime in 2018, when it increased to $119 from $99. Four years before that, it raised the subscription fee to $99 from $79.

Amazon’s annual increase amounts to about a 17% rise in price. Amazon also raised the monthly price of a Prime membership from $12.99 to $14.99, the company said. New members will see the increased prices on Feb. 18, and current members will be billed at the higher rate after March 25.

Amazon stock rose more than 14% at one point on Thursday in extended trading.

Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime gives members access to free two-day shipping, as well as access to exclusive movies and TV shows, among other perks. As of last April, the service had more than 200 million subscribers worldwide.

The membership program remains one of the biggest growth levers for Amazon’s core retail business. Prime members spend considerably more on Amazon than non-Prime customers, and they also shop more often.

Amazon is raising the price of Prime as it navigates the dual challenges of continued supply chain disruptions and labor constraints. The company raised wages and offered generous signing bonuses to attract workers in a tight labor market. To avoid delivery disruptions, it rerouted packages over longer and costlier distances to get them to facilities with enough staff to handle them.

The cost of keeping Prime members hooked on the service has also become more expensive for Amazon. The company spends billions of dollars annually to add more compelling video and music content to its streaming service. And, in recent years, Amazon has poured money into building out its logistics and fulfillment network to make one-day shipping the default nationwide.

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