Amazon Prime costs $99 per year and carries a tremendous amount of benefits by opting into the program. Regular shoppers will get free two day shipping, which really adds up to some serious savings over time. There is also Amazon Instant Video, Prime Music, and the Kindle Lending Library.
The Prime membership program has turned ten today and for customers, Prime is “the best bargain in the history of shopping,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
Bezos said that worldwide paid membership grew 53% last year — 50% in the U.S. and a bit faster outside the U.S. Prime is available in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada and Austria.
How many members does Amazon Prime have? The company has never divulged their exact subscriber base in the US or internationally. They have only made sporadic statements that are rather ambiguous. When the service first launched ten years ago it was said “tens of thousands of people signed up on Prime’s first day,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime Global, told the Washington Post. “Four out of five of those initial members are still active and using their original accounts.” Right after the 2014 holiday shopping season Amazon announced in press release that they had “tens of millions of members.”
In order to gauge how many members Amazon Prime actually has, we often have to turn to analysts. Most of the trusted data comes from the finance industry where their number crunching assists them in their recommendations if a company is a viable investment or not.
Early in 2014 Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital ended up concluding that Prime has somewhere between 10 million and 20 million members in the U.S. and perhaps 20 million to 30 million worldwide. But in September 2014 he said RBC is now boosting that estimate to between 30 million and 40 million in the U.S. and 40 million to 50 million globally. Why the change? A survey of more than 4,000 Amazon customers conducted by RBC Capital found that 37% were current Prime members. And RBC says that percentage leads to its new estimates.
New data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners issued today proclaimed that at the end of 2014, Amazon Prime had 40 million US members, up from an estimated 29 million at the end of the third quarter. This basically means that 45% of all Amazons US customers has signed on with the Prime program. CIRP also estimates that the average Amazon Prime customer spends $1,500 per year on the e-commerce site, compared to $625 for nonmembers.
In the end, the one thing Prime does really well is diminishes the likelihood someone will buy from anywhere else. It creates customer loyalty and increases Amazon’s customer base. Because it sells across so many different markets — books, music, movies, household goods, clothing, etc. — the strength of its network increases exponentially with each new customer.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.