Last-minute shoppers flocked to Amazon this year -- and it proves a major strength for its business

  • Amazon improved its shipping options with the goal of making it easy to get last-minute holiday gifts on time.
  • Customers’ use of Amazon’s one-day, same-day, and two-hour delivery doubled this holiday, according to the company.
  • This dovetails with Amazon’s commitment to being the most convenient option to gain market share, at the expense of margin.

Amazon shoppers had more options than ever this holiday season.

A major expansion in the company’s two-day shipping, one-day shipping, same-day shipping, and two-hour shipping options made the retailer a convenient option for last-minute gifting.

Use of these services doubled this holiday, according to the company, highlighting one of Amazon’s biggest strengths as it is projecting to take half of all online holiday sales.

Amazon offers shipping guarantees as few other retailers do. And this year the company was able to ensure that customers using the correct shipping speeds were able to get their gifts on time.

Amazon has been greatly expanding its ability to deliver items in two-day shipping, the standard benefit for Prime members. But as recently as mid-December, it expanded its one-day and same-day shipping options to 3,000 new cities across the country. The total now stands at 8,000 locales with access to these Prime benefits.

Prime members who waited until the very last minute were able to take advantage of Prime Now, Amazon’s two-hour delivery service.

Amazon expanded its selection of items available with Prime Now to include gift-ready products like board games and its own Echo devices. Eligible Prime Now products were available for free two-hour delivery all the way up until midnight on Christmas Eve.The AP called it perfect for procrastinators.

Non-Prime members also waited till the last minute to order from Amazon. December 19 – two days after the last day to place an order with non-Prime free shipping – was the busiest day for Amazon’s fulfillment centres, according to the company.

Amazon is willing to provide these expensive convenience benefits to its Prime benefits, as they are key to its business. New Prime members, whose ranks swelled by more than 4 million in just one week this holiday season, may have been swayed by these benefits. Prime members overall buy more goods more often from the company than the average consumer.

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