Apr 24, 2024 - Business

Amazon's add-on strategy hits grocery delivery

Animated illustration of a neon sign with the Amazon smile growing larger.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies like Amazon are tacking on new fees and surcharges on top of the regular subscription fees they already charge.

Why it matters: Subscription fatigue is real and growing, testing the limits of consumer appetites for convenience.

Driving the news: Amazon announced the launch of a $9.99 a month unlimited grocery delivery subscription benefit Tuesday that is available in more than 3,500 cities and towns across the U.S.

  • The benefit works on orders over $35 from Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh and local grocery and specialty retailers available on Amazon.com.
  • Low-income customers get a discounted fee of $4.99 per month without a Prime member if they have a registered EBT card, Amazon says.

Between the lines: Adding on the grocery feature will cost $120 a year for the average Prime member who already pays $139 a year, or $14.99 a month.

The big picture: Though consumers have been increasing scrutiny over their growing number of subscriptions, analysts say there's still room for the ones that check the right boxes.

  • Consumers "seem increasingly willing to subscribe to time-saving services, and Amazon's subscription economics likely make sense for those that shop multiple times a month," Bank of America analysts wrote yesterday.
  • Amazon has a "slight advantage" with fee-weary consumers, GlobalData managing director Neil Saunders tells Axios, because this is an add-on to its existing program.

Zoom out: The same-day delivery wars have been heating up with Walmart and Target recently adding speedy new services that rival Amazon.

  • Target Circle 360 debuted earlier this month with an introductory price of $49 a year for unlimited same-day deliveries for orders $35-plus.
  • Walmart+ costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. The retailer launched an early morning on-demand delivery service in March which comes with a $10 express fee for members.

The bottom line: Convenience comes at a price.

  • Depending on your Amazon add-on selections, multiple subscriptions can more than double the cost of Prime.

Editor's note: The headline on this story has been clarified to note that the fees are add-on services.

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