Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced in his annual shareholder letter that the e-commerce giant has exceeded 100 million paid Prime subscribers. “13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally,” he wrote in this year’s letter to shareholders. He added that in 2017 Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items and more new members joined Prime than in any other year. And for the first time, Amazon reported that more than half of its online marketplace unit sales came from third-party sellers.
Prime subscribers pay monthly or annual fees in exchange for quick shipping on orders, plus numerous other perks like music, video streaming, photo storage and the ever popular ‘and more!’.
The memberships encourage customers to shop more with Amazon to get their moneys worth, much like bricks and mortar warehouse clubs like Costco.
Amazon has always kept its Prime subscriber number a closely held secret, which forced analysts to guesstimate the figure based on shopper surveys. Analysts made projections of 65 to 85 million, while Amazon simply said the numbers were in the “tens of millions”.
Prime subscribers are known to be more lucrative to Amazon, estimated to spend twice as much money every year than non-members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Amazon is holding the lead in e-commerce as well as cloud computing. Its also building an advertising business to capitalize on their traffic. They’re also betting big on voice, with their expanding line of Echo devices. But threats from Walmart loom large with strong price competition as well as domination in the grocery space.