Finance Consumer Amazon Prime launches in Australia, but don’t expect the US service

Amazon Prime launches in Australia, but don’t expect the US service

Amazon Prime australia
As of Tuesday, Amazon is launching its Prime membership service in the Australian market. Photo: Getty
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Amazon is aiming to increase its sales in Australia by launching its Prime service, which includes TV streaming, gaming and e-book deals, alongside free shopping delivery.

The Prime service, which launches on Tuesday, will be available to Australian subscribers at half the price to its US counterparts at $60 a year as opposed to $119.

But while Amazon Prime members in the US receive features like access to Amazon Dash (Amazon’s product-branded instant order buttons), free Audible audiobooks and free two-hour shipping in some cities, Australia will not have access to these premium add-ons.

Amazon’s Australian e-commerce site only launched in December, and its smaller local presence means there is a limit to what it can offer local customers.

Amazon describes Prime as a membership program which gives people who pay a monthly fee of $4.99 until January 2019 access to exclusive deals on more than 1000 e-books through Prime Reading, streaming service Amazon Prime Video, gaming service Twitch Prime and shopping and delivery deals.

After January 2019, Prime will cost Australian users $6.99 a month, equating to $84 per year.

Amazon’s Prime announcement in Australia comes just after its new policy that will block local customers from shopping on other countries’ Amazon sites starting July 1 in response to the country’s collect goods and services tax on products shipped into Australia.

Amazon’s Australian site has around 64 million products compared to the 500 million available in the US.

As part of the Prime subscription, 90 per cent of Australian customers, including metro areas such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, will be eligible for free two-day shipping, while remote and rural users will receive “free expedited shipping in as fast as four or five days”, according to Amazon.

There is no minimum purchase for Prime members on Amazon’s domestic selection of eligible products.

They will also have access to approximately 4 million items sold on the US site and will receive free international shipping on orders over $49.

A major selling point of the full Amazon experience is access to its original shows through Prime Video, such as Golden Globe winner The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and The Grand Tour with former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.

Meanwhile, Twitch Prime offers a “selection” of free games every month to subscribers, as well as access to in-game loot for specific titles including Fortnite and Heroes of the Storm.

Amazon’s Prime is available in several countries already and has 100 million members.

-with AAP