Amazon Prime customers in five European countries learned Tuesday that they face double-digit price increases for the platform's expedited delivery service. Amazon said the rises were due to increased operating costs as fuel prices have jumped higher. Beginning in mid-September, customers in France will have to pay 43 percent more for an annual subscription. Italians face a 38.6-percent hike, Spaniards 30.3 percent, and Britons and Germans 20 percent.
The rises take the price of Prime, which in addition to rapid delivery includes access to its Prime Video service, to EUR 49.90 (roughly Rs. 4,000) in Italy and Spain. It will be EUR 89.90 (roughly Rs. 7,300) in France and Germany, and GBP 95 (roughly Rs. 9,150) in Britain.
That leaves the service less costly than in the United States, where it rose by 17 percent earlier this year to $139 (roughly Rs. 11,100) per year.
Back in February, Amazon announced that it was raising the price of its annual US Prime subscriptions as it looked to offset higher costs for shipping and wages that it expected to persist this year.
With more than 200 million members globally, Prime is an incentive to consumers to direct more of their shopping to Amazon. That way, they make the most of their subscriptions. At the time, the company had not announced any changes for Prime members outside the United States
While the price hikes are much higher than inflation, analysts believe that the service costs Amazon much more than it charges and is used to lure and keep customers.
Market intelligence firm Foxintelligence estimated last year that European members of Prime bought on average twice as much on Amazon than non-members.
A handful of angry customers announced their intention to cancel the service on Twitter.
However, Amazon representatives in France were unfazed.
"What we could see in the United States was there wasn't an opt-out surge because more and more services are offered via Prime and it still allows consumers to realise very considerable savings," said the firm.