My one year anniversary of using Amazon Prime

Essential Retail’s deputy editor, Caroline Baldwin, celebrates her Amazon Primiversary.

Along with sunshine and a quieter London commute, August brings with it my Amazon Primiversary. That means another £79 escapes my bank account in one fell swoop.

I thought I’d take a look at my year with Amazon, find out how much I have spent on top of my annual membership fee and see if I actually take advantage of all the extra benefits Amazon offer me.

Signing up to the cult

It all started off with LoveFilm. I was a member before it was sold to Amazon, paying £5.99 per month to stream TV and movies. Last year I was offered to try Amazon Prime for £59, which was cheaper than what I was paying for Amazon Video – seemed silly not to. Even now I’m paying the regular £79 membership, that is still less than £1 more than the price of Amazon Video anyway. And once I had joined the next-day delivery cult, there was so much more I could use – Amazon Music and Amazon Photo were a particularly pleasant surprise and I use both apps nearly every day.

Amazon services I use

  • Unlimited One-Day Delivery
  • No-Rush Delivery
  • Amazon Prime Instant Video
  • Amazon Music
  • Amazon Photo
  • Audible (additional £7.99 per month)
  • Amazon Pantry (delivery is £2.99 for first Pantry box and 99p for each additional box)

Amazon services I don’t use

  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • Amazon Prime Now (£6.99 for hour delivery, two-hour delivery is free)
  • Amazon Fresh (additional £6.99 per month)
  • Amazon Household – sharing all the benefits among the family

Extra spend

So I went back through my Amazon order history and worked out how much I’ve spent with the e-tailer over the last year. And while I’m not going to tell you how much that eye-watering amount came to, I sat down with a pencil, scratching my head to do some GCSE-maths and break down my purchases in categories.

Firstly, I subtracted all my Kindle purchases from my yearly total, because I’ve been a Kindle owner for years and Prime has not influenced the amount I spend on e-books (I haven’t even tried Prime’s free Kindle Library service).

I also still haven’t tried out Prime Now, despite the promotional offers I’m sent. Call me old fashioned – I just can never think of anything I need desperately within an hour. And I refuse to pay an additional £6.99 per month to use Amazon Fresh, but I have tried Pantry.

So time for that maths…

I was surprised and happy to see I still buy physical books (18.7% of yearly total) and they also make up most of my emotional purchases – either I saw a book recommended on a cooking programme and went straight to the app to buy it, or I come home on the train after a few wines at a friend’s house and order a book she recommended, surprised (and confused) by the parcel waiting on my desk the next day.

I also spent 12.5% of my yearly total on digital videos, which is interesting, because unlike Kindle, I never purchased from Amazon Video until I was a Prime member… with a Fire Stick. It’s definitely the Fire Stick I bought for £20 which makes it so easy to buy that season of Game of Thrones which has just been taken of Sky Go and you can’t find anywhere else to stream. You are watching Daenerys and her dragons within minutes.

Apparently 14.7% of my purchases I categorised as ‘spontaneous, influenced or drunken’ – which covers most physical books and digital video purchases.

But 64.3% of my purchases with Amazon over the last year I categorised as ‘miscellaneous, work, everyday’. The boring bits, which include my Pantry order, things like SD cards for work, a new phone case and the like.

Apparently Prime members tend to spend twice as much with the e-tail giant. But I’m not convinced I spent more with Amazon Prime over this last year. I definitely spent more on digital content thanks to the Fire Stick and with Kindle over bookshops (sadly!) since I bought the device years ago, but all my other purchases with their free next-day delivery I would have probably bought from Amazon anyway. The only item that truly benefitted from the next-day delivery was an awful blonde wig, bought last-minute for a hen night.

Final word

Nice perks: Choosing credit over next day – quite often I don’t desperately need a pack of 50 tealights the very next day, it’s nice to have them, but it’s nicer to have the £1 credit from Amazon to put towards a Friday night digital film rental.

Downsides: The lump-sum fee, I’d much sooner have a monthly charge than scrabble together a large amount once a year that I had forgotten was due. Perhaps Amazon is worried monthly customers will cancel easier, but I’d be even willing to sign a yearly contract to pay monthly.

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