Amazon drops its $25 free shipping minimum for the holidays

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Amazon says it will offer free holiday shipping to all of its customers on hundreds of millions of items, a potentially costly competitive move created to keep pace with similar moves by the company's retail rivals. The offer applies to "hundreds of millions of items", Amazon said, which makes it "the largest free shipping selection in the country".

Beginning today, however, everyone's purchases qualify for free two-day shipping with no Prime subscription or minimum purchase amount required. There's a feature called AR View, for example - a new augmented reality feature in the Amazon app that allows customers to view products in situ before they purchase. A spokeswoman said it is the first time Amazon has dropped its minimum order size to qualify for free standard shipping - which generally takes between five and eight days - to zero.

Monday's news will pile pressure on Walmart and Target, which in recent years have chipped away at Amazon's lead with their own offers of free two-day shipping. But you can enjoy the freedom of placing smaller orders without having to worry about an extra shipping fee. The company expects sales for the fourth quarter to be between $66.5 billion and $72.5 billion. Sales in November and December - excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants - are expected to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion, according to figures from the National Retail Federation.

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Black Friday, which falls on Friday 23rd November, has become a highly-anticipated date in the United Kingdom shopping calendar and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season for some people.

Prime members in the US can also shop FREE Same-Day Delivery on more than three million eligible items!

Like a year ago, more of Amazon's Echo smart speakers will no doubt feature in its Black Friday sale, which will see thousands of deals across consumer electronics.