Amazon is giving everyone free shipping on everything for the holidays

Millions of additional items on its website sold by third-party sellers will qualify for the free two-day shipping perk.

Some of Amazon's competitors are also offering free shipping this holiday season.

The war for online holiday shoppers is already off to a roaring start, and Amazon is preparing to take the lion's share of online shopping again this season. Prime membership is not required, although paid subscribers get free same-day delivery when possible.

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. In the wake of Walmart's change, it lowered the threshold twice that same year: to $35, and then to the current non-promotional threshold of $25.

This is the first time Amazon is offering such an offer, though the company had free shipping for orders over $25 a year ago.

According to the Seattle company's latest annual filing, shipping costs almost doubled from 2015 to 2017, reaching $21.7 billion.

US online retail sales in November and December will rise 14.8 percent, to $124 billion, software maker Adobe said last week in a forecast based on data from 80 of the 100 largest online retailers. During the fourth quarter of 2017, the company spent a record $7.3 billion getting packages to customers.

In recent months, Amazon has extended same-day delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now to more than 60 cities.

Amazon hasn't revealed yet when this promotion will end, just that it applies to "orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday".

  • Wendy Palmer