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Amazon Prime vs. Costco: Which offers more value?

Amazon Prime vs. Costco: Which offers more value?
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When we talk about retail giants, normally we're comparing Amazon and Walmart. Walmart remains number one but Amazon is growing quickly and tech innovations like Alexa propel them forward.

According to TheBalance.com, Costco is number two. But they recently increased their annual membership fee. Let's take a look at how their membership package compares to Amazon.

Membership Price

A Costco membership recently increased from $55 per year to $60 per year. The Executive Membership price went from $110 to $120. You must be a member to shop at Costco.

An annual Amazon Prime membership will cost you $99 per year or $10.99 per month. There is a 50 percent discount for college students. Anyone can shop on Amazon.com but members get special pricing on many items.

How are they different?

Costco is known for their wholesale discounts on the products they sell. Many groceries are sold in bulk, which is great for large families who will consume products before they expire. Members can also get discounts on vacations, medications and gas. And they offer technical support on the electronics that they sell.

They offer many in-store services too, such as the Photo Center, eye exams and hearing screenings. Perks, such as tasty free samples and the affordable food court options, are also quite popular.

Amazon.com is all about online features. They have a few brick-and-mortar stores but the large majority of their services, such as eBooks, music, and movies, must be accessed online. Click here to see everything you get with an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon's most popular feature may be the free two-day shipping. Some items can even arrive on the same day that you ordered them. For reference, note that standard shipping from Costco is about 7-10 business days.

Bottom line

“People who subscribe to Amazon Prime were more tech-savvy and tend to be a bit younger, while seniors were more likely to be a Costco [subscriber],” said Steve Koppitsch, who is a marketing professor at Bowling Green State University and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Shopper Research.

As with most buying habits, a consumer's decision between Amazon and Costco comes down to preference. If you want cheaper prices and like to do your shopping in physical stores, then Costco can provide a great shopping experience. If the convenience of shopping at home in your pajamas while you watch your favorite movies is more your style, then Amazon.com is for you.

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