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Amazon Prime at $99. Poll says it's a turnoff for many

Almost all of Prime subscribers surveyed by CIRP would renew for $79, but less than half said they would bite at a $99 price tag.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Amazon's new $99 subscription rate could cause it to lose a fair number of Prime subscribers, at least based on the results of a new poll.

On Thursday, the retail giant announced that it's raising the annual cost of its Prime subscription service to $99 from $79. Prime offers several benefits, including free two-day shipping, a large Instant Video library, and free e-book lending. To defend its first-ever price jump in nine years, Amazon cited increased fuel and transportation costs.

But will Prime subscribers swallow the higher price when it comes time to renew?

In a poll taken before Amazon unveiled the new $99 price, CIRP found that less than half of Prime subscribers said they would definitely or probably renew at that level. In contrast, 94 percent of Prime members surveyed said they would definitely or probably renew at the $79 price.

Based on the poll results, a quarter of those who try Amazon Prime don't bother to renew anyway. And among those, most opt not to renew due to the price.

"Almost a quarter of Amazon buyers in the survey period had a Prime membership, but let it lapse," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said in a statement. "One way to look at this is that Amazon Prime is not for everyone, but trying out Amazon Prime is for almost everyone. About three-quarters of those that did not renew their membership did so because of cost."

Given that the poll was conducted before Thursday's price increase, most of the the results are hypothetical. And the survey itself heard from only 300 consumers who had bought items at Amazon during the three months ending February 7.

But now that the cat is out of the bag, do you Prime subscribers out there intend to renew your subscription for $99? Let us know in the poll in this story and in our comments below.

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