Amazon expands free, next-day delivery options for Prime members this holiday season

In anticipation of a busy holiday shopping season, Amazon announced this week that it has expanded delivery options to allow even the worst procrastinators to receive their orders on time.

Prime members across the U.S. can receive free one-day delivery on more than 10 million items, the company said Monday. Same-day delivery is also available for customers in 46 major metropolitan areas.

With only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019, compared to 32 days in 2018, the holiday shopping season is a bit shorter this year — and Amazon is ramping up its efforts to make buying gifts more convenient.

An Amazon gift package is displayed on November 23, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

“We know the holidays can be a busy time, especially with 2019 being one of the shortest shopping seasons,” said Maria Renz, vice president of global delivery experience at Amazon. “Our goal is to make the season as easy as possible for customers and deliver smiles at every turn, whether it’s shopping the largest selection available for free shipping, or getting holiday essentials delivered the very same day, and more.”

Customers can opt to have their orders delivered to a self-service Amazon Hub Locker in more than 900 cities and towns across the U.S. at no additional cost, including Whole Foods Market stores, or at Amazon Hub Counter locations at partners like Rite Aid, GNC and more.

Another delivery option for Prime members includes Key by Amazon in 50 U.S. cities. Customers can choose to have packages delivered inside their home, car or garage to keep them hidden and away from the elements.

Delivery options seem to matter in the retail space, including cost. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 85 percent of consumers prefer free shipping to fast shipping.

Online shopping during the holidays was expected to generate between $144 billion to $149 billion, a slight increase from 2018, according to the company.

Other retailers have announced similar delivery options to compete with Amazon. Walmart introduced free delivery for orders totaling $35 and up, while Target offers same-day delivery with a Shipt plan.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.