Amazon Prime in the UK is £7.99 per month (£95.88 for the year) or £79 for a one-off payment. There’s a whole bunch of internet posts (all paid for affiliates) describing how Amazon Prime is worth it. So here’s my very quick explanation from my perspective, why it’s not. I promise you, Amazon aren’t paying me!
Postage is (mostly) free without Prime
I was an Amazon Prime member for several years up until recently. I had always assumed I was getting a good deal with the free postage but I started to get suspicious so I let my membership lapse. Everything I’ve ordered since being a non-Prime member has had free delivery. Amazon usually applies a “promotion” at checkout (like the one below).
When free delivery for non-Prime members is positioned as a “promotion” they can make up bogus claims around how much you save as a Prime member. When I was opting out of Prime, Amazon communicated an astronomical amount of money I’d saved the previous year on delivery which looked like BS. I should mention that on occasion my order amount needs to be a minimum of £10 (books) or £20 for free delivery, whereas, with Prime, this isn’t the case. If you’re close to spending £20 then you can use this website for finding cheap things to add to your basket. I haven’t found this an issue though, I can wait until more things need adding, it’s also good friction for me to pause and question whether I need it.
You spend significantly more as a Prime member
Studies by Amazon show that Prime members spend on average 130% more than non-Prime members. That’s a lot of crap you’re buying that you probably don’t need! Not being a Prime member adds friction to the buying journey which makes you think more before making a purchase.
Amazon work on the assumption you’re impatient
The main advantage of Prime delivery is you get things quicker. If I want next day delivery then I need to pay without Prime membership. But I never need anything that urgently and would argue no one does! Another thing I’ve noticed as a non-Prime member is they exaggerate how long the delivery will take. I’m sure this is done to make me feel like delivery is rubbish without Prime but everything arrives significantly quicker.
Amazon video isn’t very good
I realise this is subjective, but I struggled to find much on there to watch, moreover, I have Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV, YouTube … so that’s enough. I should mention Amazon music, again I never used it and there’s far more music for free on YouTube.
Amazon doesn’t pay corporation tax
How is this fair? I had to pay corporation tax as a contractor and so do businesses on the high street. Amazon’s business is responsible for closing down much of the high street, the least they can do is pay tax. There’s a compelling argument that Amazon is bad for the economy with profits siphoned offshore compared to businesses that keep money within the local economy.
Amazon isn’t always cheaper
Once you’re “sucked in” it’s easy to order everything through them as it’s so easy but it’s not always cheaper. Much of what you buy can also be purchased elsewhere though companies that pay their fair share of tax. A good example being Argos where you can collect in-store of at your local Sainsbury’s.
Amazon treat and pay their staff poorly
You can’t go a week without Amazon receiving more bad publicity around the poor working conditions of their staff. Nearly all the warehouse staff are on minimum wage and zero-hour contracts.
In summary, there was no way I was saving £79 per year on postage. If you’re considering an Amazon Prime membership then I wouldn’t bother. If you’re already a member then I’d encourage you to let your membership lapse and see how you get on. ..I’m sure you’ll be financially better off.