Good news for my fellow sufferers in Blighty: Amazon has discounted the 7-inch Kindle Fire from its regular UK price of £49.99 ($72) to £39.99 ($57.72), with free delivery thrown in. In other UK discount news, Amazon is also offering its Fire TV box at a 20 percent discount, from £79.99 ($115.47) to £63.99 ($92.36). It goes without saying that the Fire tablet in particular is now an absolute steal. With prices like these, it’s undercutting even the cheapest discounted 7-inch no-brand devices available from big-box retailers like Argos.
Can Amazon afford it? As I’ve noted before, the Bezos Behemoth should have no problem whatsoever turning a profit even on top of such discounts. And remember that UK hardware prices, like European ones, are artificially inflated compared to U.S. levels, and the discounted UK Fire price is still above the much-vaunted $50 U.S. sticker price. Hardware and other costs to Amazon, therefore, shouldn’t be a problem.
Amazon haters in the UK used to be plentiful. These discounts show exactly how much Amazon needs to care about their prejudices. Furthermore, Amazon is also heavily promoting Amazon Prime alongside the latest discounts, offering 30 days free trial, and bracketing promotion of its in-house Golden Globe winners with Prime subscriptions. This suggests that Amazon has its sights on similar levels of ecosystem lock-in – and service quality – in the UK as it’s achieved with Prime in the U.S.
Right now I can’t see any indication of how long this discount will last, so the obvious conclusion is to grab it now. After all, it’s now well down in the no-brainer impulse purchase league. Does this also signal a seismic shift in the tablet market? Personally, if I was back in the UK, I’d be selling Samsung shares almost as fast as I’d be buying Kindle Fires.