Amazon scraps free delivery for many items under £10

The online giant says cutting back its free delivery option will let it offer an "expanded selection of lower priced products".

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Bad news for those of you who like snapping up bits and bobs online and having them delivered to your house -- Amazon is doing away with free delivery for smaller orders.

Effective now, if you buy an item under £10, you won't get it delivered free of charge. Instead you'll have to stump up to have it sent to your house -- in the case of this £5.79 USB charging cable, you'll pay £3.99 for first-class delivery, for example.

Looking around the site, it seems an extra three or four quid seems like the typical charge. Amazon says getting rid of the free delivery will allow it to, "Offer you a significantly expanded selection of lower priced products."

The good news is that not every product category is losing the free delivery option. Books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software products will still be eligible for free delivery, assuming you can find them listed for less than £10 of course.

Plenty of books can be found on the site for under a tenner, so if you still use Amazon for its original literary purpose, you probably won't notice any change. You can also get free delivery for an order under £10 if it includes any item from those above categories. So if you need to buy, say, a £3 HDMI cable, you may as well buy a £4 book as well and get free postage on the bundle instead of paying the cable's delivery fee.

Amazon's low, low prices have often been credited as a key factor in the demise of British high-street chains like Woolworths, Comet and Jessops, all of whom sold the kind of cheaper knick-knacks that it's become much easier to buy through Amazon.

Perhaps Amazon is scrapping free delivery on these smaller items precisely because the number of rival retailers has now dwindled -- having chased out much of the competition, it can safely phase out a few of the perks that made the site so attractive to start with.

Do you shop from Amazon? Will the change affect you, or are you not fussed? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.