CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Internet

Amazon Prime launches in Australia with free shipping and perks

You won't pay as much as US Prime members, but you also won't get as many benefits.

amazon-shipping-box.jpg

Amazon Prime members won't have to pay for all those deliveries.

Amazon

Amazon is ready to give you instant gratification, Australia.

The online shopping giant has officially launched Amazon Prime in Australia, giving shoppers access to speedy deliveries and free video streaming perks that US Amazon users have had for over a decade.

First launched in the US in 2005, Amazon Prime gives shoppers a raft of shipping benefits as well as add-ons from Amazon's other services for a yearly fee.

But while Amazon Prime members in the States get features like access to Amazon Dash (Amazon's product-branded instant order buttons), free Audible audiobooks and free two-hour shipping in some cities, Australia has a way to go before we get that range of perks.

That's because Amazon Australia itself still has a way to go before it's the fully-fledged shopping giant it is in the US. Amazon's e-commerce site only launched in December last year (with some users complaining that its range was much less than the US offering) and Amazon Echo launched in February.

A smaller presence in Australia means fewer perks Down Under compared to the US. But at $119 a year, US users also pay more -- Australian users will only need to fork out AU$59 per year for Prime. Amazon is also spinning it to say Australia is getting the most benefits at launch of any country Prime has launched in.

So here's the low down.

The price

  • Yearly: AU$59 per year
  • Monthly: AU$4.99 per month until Jan. 31, 2019 (equates to AU$60 per year) then AU$6.99 per month from January 2019 (AU$84 per year)
  • Amazon is also offering a free 30-day trial

Free 2-day shipping

  • Shipping in two business days for 90 percent of Australia (Amazon specifically names Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney as well as regional cities such as Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Gold Coast, Gosford, Newcastle, Shepparton-Mooroopna, Toowoomba and Wagga Wagga. It says more places will be added over time.)
  • Prime members in more remote and rural locations will receive "free expedited shipping in as fast as four or five days"
  • No minimum purchase
  • Available on "Prime-eligible" products on Amazon Australia and third-party sellers on Amazon Australia Marketplace (Amazon hasn't detailed what these will be, but says this will include millions of products)

Access to Amazon US

  • Access to some roughly 4 million products from Amazon's US store
  • Free international shipping on orders over AU$49

Other shipping perks

  • Discounted Priority Delivery: A discounted rate on certain prime products if you want them to arrive in under two business days
  • Free release date delivery: Preorder certain eligible products such as video games (Amazon name drops Red Dead Redemption II and Call of Duty Black Ops 4) for delivery on release date (available to 90 percent of Australia)

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Reading

  • Free access to e-books, comics and travel guides
  • Amazon says Prime Reading includes access to "more than 1,000" titles (so don't expect the full Kindle store)
  • Access via Kindle or the Kindle app on mobile or tablet

Twitch Prime

  • A "selection" of free games every month
  • Access to in-game loot (for games like Fortnite and Heroes of the Storm), plus add-ons like extra chat emotes

Shopping extras

  • Voice shopping on Alexa-enabled devices
  • "Exclusive" shopping deals for Prime members, including Prime Day (Amazon's online deal day)

The bottom line

We don't have the full Amazon experience that you'll find in the US (the local streaming service, for example, still lacks depth of content in Australia). As a result, Amazon Prime doesn't offer the same level of perks that US Amazon members get. That said, Amazon says it has big plans for growing in Australia and it says Amazon Prime will be no different. 

If you're an internet shopping fiend, then the addition of video streaming, e-books and Twitch bonuses that come with Prime are a big selling point -- and the membership will pay for itself after a few online orders thanks to dodging shipping charges. But ultimately Amazon Prime is only as enticing as Amazon Australia itself, so if you're not wowed by its online offering, then becoming a fully paid-up member may not be for you.

First published June 18, 12:01 a.m. AEST.
Correction, June 19 at 2:02 p.m.: Clarifies that 2-day shipping is only available on Prime-eligible products, not all products on Amazon Australia as previously stated. 

'Hello, humans': Google's Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet.

Fight the Power: Take a look at who's transforming the way we think about energy.