Amazon Prime is Amazon.com’s exclusive membership program that offers several key benefits in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. But do you know how big the service really is and how quickly it has grown to be one of the largest loyalty programs in the world?
A Primer on Prime
Amazon Prime was first introduced to the public in 2005, nearly 11 years ago. At the time, they only offered the free two-day shipping on eligible items, and the membership cost $79 per annum. They also offered a discount on one-day shipping on certain items. In 2014 they raised the annual fee to $99 per annum.
Today, the freebies that come with Amazon Prime are virtually endless. Here’s a recent list of benefits for Prime members, taken from a reliable source:
- “Free two-day shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S. and other shipping benefits.
- Free same-day delivery in eligible ZIP codes.
- Free one-hour delivery of some items, in some cities through Amazon Prime Now.
- Membership Sharing: Two adults living in the same household can create an Amazon Household to share certain Amazon Prime benefits.
- Prime Video: Unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. You can also add video subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, A&E, AMC and many other streaming entertainment channels.
- Prime Music: Unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and more than a million songs for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
- Prime Now: In select cities, you can get one hour delivery for tens of thousands of products from local stores. For instance, in New York City you can now get delivery of beer, wine and spirits from Westside Market, Union Square Wines and Vintage Grape. Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore also participate in this program.
- Prime Photos: Secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive.
- Prime Pantry: Access to Prime Pantry, where members can purchase and ship to addresses in the contiguous U.S. low-priced grocery, household and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 for each Prime Pantry box. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
- 20 Percent off new, physical video games during pre-order and through two weeks after release, and comes with free, release-date delivery.
- Amazon Elements: Access to Amazon Elements products, Amazon’s own line of everyday essentials.
- Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and new events on MyHabit.com
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: Accessible to members in the U.S.
- Kindle First: Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks.
- Video Add-On Subscriptions: You can order third-party streaming apps through Amazon Prime to keep all your video content in one place. For instance, you can add Showtime Anytime and HBO Go to your account.
- Deals and Discounts, Compliments of Amazon Mom: These include 20 percent off diapers through Subscribe & Save and 15 percent off eligible products from your baby registry.
- Parents will enjoy savings on FreeTime Unlimited, which brings tons of kid-friendly content to your account. Prime members pay $2.99 per month, while non-Prime members pay $4.99″
How Big is the Amazon Prime Membership Base?
The reason Amazon is offering so much now is that this service has become immensely popular. Amazon doesn’t reveal its numbers, but several sources estimate that there are approximately 54 million Prime members in the United States alone. Worldwide, that estimate is now approaching 70 million Prime members. Having recently opened up Prime in India, Amazon Prime membership could well hit the 100 million mark in the next year or so.
The biggest reason that Amazon keeps adding goodies to the Prime benefits list is the need for growth. Amazon has never been worried about profitability as a company, and for many years were bleeding money because they were intent on growing their numbers across the world. Much of that growth has come from Amazon Prime.
What’s changing with Prime?
A subtle shift that’s happening with Amazon Prime is the paid add-ons. Amazon is using the base membership to offer even more premium services to its customers. Video add-ons, for example, contribute significantly to additional revenues for Amazon. For example, Prime Pantry allows you to order household staples and have them delivered for a flat fee of $5.99. Now imagine 1 million people opting for the service and that’s a cool $1 million in additional gross income for the company. That might be pittance considering Amazon made $107 billion in revenues last year, but it’s the drops that make up the ocean.
As Amazon becomes more profitability-conscious, they’re trying to monetize what are currently free services so they can capture market share outside of existing members. For example, Prime Music may soon be launched as a standalone service for $9.99/mo, which is in line with what Spotify and other audio streaming sites are offering.
Amazon wants to stay competitive and at the top of the retail game, and they will do everything in their power to make sure that user base keeps growing and keeps getting value for their $99.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says that even better things are coming to Prime members in the coming months:
“We want Prime to be such a good value, you’d be irresponsible not to be a member.” – Jeff Bezos
Prime already contributes a significant portion of Amazon’s retail revenues around the world and has a renewal rate of over 90%. It’s massively successful and its growing so if you’re not a Prime member yet and you buy a lot of stuff online, you could be paying much more than you would if you were signed on.
To get your Amazon Prime Free 30-Day Trial, CLICK HERE.
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