Amazon expands same-day delivery and one-day shipping to thousands more cities

Amazon announced today it has expanded its same-day delivery and one-day shipping service to thousands more markets across the U.S., just in time for last-minute holiday shopping. Before, these services were available to Prime members in 5,000 cities and towns, the retailer tells us. Now, they’re available in over 8,000.

The market expansion is not just focused on serving major metros, but brings the services to both larger cities and smaller towns in states including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and others.

The move could put Amazon at an advantage over rival online retailers who sometimes lose out on sales later in the shopping season – and in particular those last few days leading up to Christmas – because of ship times.

Same-day delivery, in particular, has been rapidly expanding over the past year or so. Last spring, for example, the service was made available to 27 metros, accounting for then just 1,000 cities and towns.

“We are continually investing in Prime, adding more selection and making delivery faster and more convenient,” said Greg Greeley, Vice President of Amazon Prime, in a statement. “In fact, in 2016, the last Prime Free Same-Day order from delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on Christmas Eve. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m. – the very same day, for free,” he said.

Faster delivery is Prime’s biggest selling point, but Amazon’s chief competitor, Walmart, has been moving into Amazon’s territory here as of late. This year, Walmart launched free, 2-day shipping without a membership. That left Amazon in need of upping its game further, to make even faster fasting shipping options more broadly available – in this case, one-day and same-day shipping and delivery.

To find items that are eligible for either free same-day delivery or free one-day shipping, Prime members have to look for logos next to products, or filter their search results using the checkboxes on the side of the page. Eligible orders over $35 are delivered for free, 7 days a week for Prime members. Non-members, meanwhile, can pay $8.99 for same-day delivery, plus $0.99 per item.

For same-day delivery, orders placed in the morning will arrive by 6 to 9 PM, while orders placed in the evening arrive the next day.

Amazon today also released a holiday shipping schedule to help shoppers know the last day to order through its various shipping services in order to take delivery before Christmas:

  • Dec. 15: Free shipping on millions of items fulfilled and shipped by Amazon, free for all customers
  • Dec. 18: Last day for standard shipping, free for Prime members
  • Dec. 22: Last day for two-day shipping, free for Prime members
  • Dec. 23: Last day for one-day shipping, free for Prime members
  • Dec. 24: Last day for same-day delivery, free for Prime members (order by 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier)
  • Dec. 24: Prime Now offers Prime members free two-hour delivery windows (order by 9:00 p.m. local time or earlier)
  • Dec. 24: Whole Foods Market stores and Amazon Books open Christmas Eve (store hours vary by location)

Amazon this season has rolled out a number of new ways to shop and receive its products, including from Whole Foods stores and various pop-ups; Amazon Books locations in select cities; via Prime Now in 30 cities for 2-hour delivery; and customers can choose to use Amazon Lockers, including those at Whole Foods, or let delivery personnel into their home via Amazon Key.