E-commerce giants Amazon and eBay are each attempting to flex their muscles on the Australian market, simultaneously launching their premium subscription services .
eBay Plus and Amazon Prime both offer users a subscription shipping service, promising free delivery on all orders at express(ish) speeds for a flat annual fee.
Launched in Australia in late May, eBay Plus will cost subscribers $49 a year for free delivery on 15 million eligible items on eBay to anywhere in Australia (this does not include all items on the marketplace.)
The two services will now rival Australia Post’s ‘Shipster’ which launched late last year.
Delivery takes 1-12 days, depending on where in Australia you are, while free returns are also included.
Managing Director of eBay Australia & New Zealand, Tim MacKinnon, said the fixed-price subscription service can help Australian shoppers save on shipping costs.
“We know our customers love the value and convenience of online shopping, but our research shows the cost of delivery can stack up over time,” he said.
eBay’s research showed that of Australia’s 13.6 million shoppers, 36% spend more than $71 annually, while 8% spend over $200.
It estimated that combined shipping costs of “these regular online shoppers” is $730 million annually.
Australia is only the second country to launch eBay Plus, following Germany.
Amazon Prime on the other hand has a for more established global presence. Australia is now the 17th country to get the subscription service.
Australians can pay for the service either monthly ($6.99) or annually ($59).
This is less than half the price of the service offered in the United States when you take into account the exchange rate, which costs users $US119 a year.
Unlike eBay Plus, Amazon Prime is not nation-wide and only offers deliveries to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Shipping is two days on items ordered from the Amazon Australia site and between 9 and 13 days on items located overseas.
Subscribers are also given access to Amazon Prime Video, 1,000 free books and free games.
Amazon’s latest effort to win over the Australian market follows a controversial decision last month to block Australian users from the US site due to the 10% GST online retailers are forced to apply.