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Amazon drops $25 free shipping minimum for holidays

In this Nov. 20, 2015 photo, packages being shipped in Amazon boxes ride a conveyor belt at the UPS Worldport hub in Louisville, Ky. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
In this Nov. 20, 2015 photo, packages being shipped in Amazon boxes ride a conveyor belt at the UPS Worldport hub in Louisville, Ky. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
By Joseph Pisani Associated Press

NEW YORK – Amazon is following Target and temporarily dropping the minimum amount shoppers need to spend to qualify for free shipping.

Typically, Amazon shoppers need to spend $25 to qualify for free shipping or pay $119 a year for a Prime membership. Amazon’s offer, which started Monday, applies to hundreds of millions of items and on orders that arrive in time for Christmas. Shoppers who aren’t Prime members will get slower shipping, though, which can take five to eight days.

Retailers are competing hard for holiday shoppers, who increasingly expect fast shipping that’s free. Target dropped its minimum purchase amount last week, offering free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items until Dec. 22. Walmart, which offers free two-day shipping on orders over $35, told reporters after the Target announcement that it has no plans to change its shipping policy.

Amazon also said Monday that it has expanded the number of items and locations where Prime members can get free same-day delivery.

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