Should you subscribe to Amazon Prime in Australia?

Over the last two decades, Amazon has grown from an online bookstore into one of the largest tech brands on the planet. No longer just dealing in paperbacks and printing runs, Amazon now sell everything from TVs to wholefoods to clothing. 

And a huge part of their business model hinges on Amazon Prime. You may have heard of it. It’s a subscription service that incentivizes and rewards shopping through Amazon. Prime Members get access to exclusive deals and bonus perks, like access to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.  

If you’re considering signing up for Amazon Prime in Australia, here’s everything you need to know before you pull the trigger.

How is Amazon Prime different in Australia?

amazon-stock-4-100667896-orig-100695962-orig.jpgCredit: Martyn Williams
amazon-stock-4-100667896-orig-100695962-orig.jpg

In the US, Amazon Prime has an enormous presence. However, the logistical and infrastructure realities involved mean that what Australian Amazon Prime members get for their subscription fee is slightly different to what American Amazon Prime members do. 

For one, the amount of items on Amazon US that are covered by the free and fast shipping bonuses that your Prime subscription gets you is much larger than those on Amazon’s Australian storefront. 

Expedited deliveries are also a lot faster for US-based Amazon Prime members. In select cities, Amazon offers delivery times of as little as one hour. It’s frighteningly fast.

Amazon Prime members in the US also get access to free audiobooks via Audible Channels, the ability to shop using their voice using Amazon Alexa and unlimited photo cloud storage through Amazon Photos.

Amazon US members also usually get more and more frequent discounts and lightning deals when it comes to events like Prime Day and Black Friday than Australian Prime members do. There are several reasons for this but the main one is that, since Amazon Australia only launched in 2017, the local storefront lacks the scale of its International counterparts in terms of brands and products.  

How much does Amazon Prime cost?

Credit: Amazon

In Australia, a standard Amazon Prime subscription costs AU$6.99/month. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here

You can also sign up for a year in advance to save money by paying AU$59/year. Doing so shaves about AU$24 off the regular cost of a 12-month Amazon Prime subscription. If you’re looking at locking in for the long haul, the 1-year plan is definitely worth considering. If that sounds like your jam, you can sign up here

Regardless of which payment plan you go with, new Amazon Prime subscribers also get their first month free. If you’re looking to get the best value, it might be worth making use of that offer to see how much use you get out of the subscription before dropping the $59 on the Prime Yearly plan. 

You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime here.

What does a Australian Amazon Prime subscription include?

Credit: Amazon

Signing up to Amazon Prime in Australia gets you free Two-Day domestic delivery on eligible products. Not every item on Amazon Australia is covered by this but the selection of products here is steadily increasing over time. 

Amazon Australia claim that this speedy delivery option will be possible for "nearly 90% of Australians" so if you desperately need a specific cable or dongle on short notice, Amazon Prime’s Two-Day domestic delivery can be a great perk to have. Same goes for the discounted priority deliveries for both domestic and international orders. 

An Amazon Prime subscription in Australia also includes free standard international delivery on eligible orders over $49. In practice, this works similarly to the free domestic shipping. It only counts items that are marked as Prime-eligible and you do have to spend a baseline of $50 in a single order for the discount to kick in.

Until the 21st of July 2019, Amazon is actually upgrading this perk to include Prime eligible items shipped and sold by Amazon US. If you’re looking for an excuse to make an order during the upcoming Prime Day, this will do the trick. 

You also get full access to Amazon Prime Video. Although Amazon’s streaming service has yet to amass anywhere close to the volume of original content available on Netflix, it’s also significantly cheaper. You can find our Guide To Every Streaming Service in Australia here.

Prime Video includes a growing stable of compelling original content like The Grand Tour, American Gods, Good Omens, Fleabag and Homecoming.

Credit: Amazon

Of course, if binge watching the latest TV shows and movies isn’t your jam. There’s a good chance at least one of Amazon Prime’s other goodwill inclusions will be.

Readers get access to over a thousand ebooks, comics and more through Prime Reading. Meanwhile, musically-inclined Amazon Prime subscribers get the benefits of access to Amazon Prime Music - which includes access to over 2-million songs. 

Neither of these are as comprehensive as a dedicated music streaming services like Spotify or Amazon’s own Kindle Unlimited but they are bundled into the $6.99 Prime subscription for no additional cost - which is pretty nifty.

There’s also Twitch Prime. In addition to offering several cosmetic perks when it comes to the regular Twitch livestreaming experience, Twitch Prime members also get regular free bonuses that include downloadable content, special deals, exclusive livestreams and sometimes entire games, free to download. 

Last but not least, an Amazon Prime subscription also gets you free release-date delivery on eligible items with metro areas. Assuming you pre-order the eligible book, game, movie or music two days ahead of release, you’ll get it the day it comes out.

Should you subscribe to Amazon Prime in Australia?

In Australia, Amazon Prime isn't quite comprehensive enough to be the only online subscription you're paying month-to-month but the cheaper pricing and diverse catalog of inclusions makes it easy enough to justify on top of other "necessities" like Netflix and Spotify. 

If you're big on binge-watching and keen to check out a new Amazon Prime original series like Good Omens, that alone might be a good enough reason to pull the trigger on your first month of Amazon Prime. At $6.99/month, it's much cheaper than Netflix and things like 4K or HDR content aren't broken out into more expensive tiers. You get the full Prime Video package.

The other big consideration here has to be the shipping perks. Obviously, you have to be doing a reasonable amount of shopping through Amazon to get the value out of things like free two-day domestic shipping and free international shipping on orders over $49. If you don't do a whole lot of online shopping, that $6.99/month is going to be more difficult to justify.

At this stage, everything else is kind of icing on the cake. Amazon Prime Music isn't as good as Spotify or Apple Music - but it's free. Prime Reading isn't as good as Kindle Reading - but it's free. Twitch Prime isn't as good as something like Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass - but it's free. Eventually, these things add up.

For $6.99/month, you get a little bit of everything - and there is a certain charm to that everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach.

You can sign up for Amazon Prime here.

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Fergus Halliday
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