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Prime memberships got so hot, Amazon had to limit them to avoid disruption in service
In an unusual turn of events, Amazon has decided to break with precedent and actually reveal some real numbers. The company announced early Thursday morning that in the third week of December, it added more than one million new Prime members. The influx of new Prime members was so great, in fact, that Amazon had to limit Prime signups during peak periods to ensure service wasn’t disrupted for existing members.
The company says it now has “tens of millions” of Prime members. A report from CIRP earlier this month estimated that Amazon now has more than 16 million Prime members, and a report from Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy estimated that Amazon will have 25 million Prime members by 2017.
Amazon says it shipped more Prime orders on its busiest shipping day (presumably December 16 or 17) than ever before, and it shipped enough orders with Prime this holiday season to deliver one package to every home in America.
Based on survey data, CIRP found that more than half of current Prime members joined within the last year, and a full quarter have joined just in the last three months. Prime customers spend significantly more on Amazon than non-Prime members: $1,340 per year to $708 per year, respectively. Additionally, Prime members also shop 50% more frequently on Amazon than non-members. Thus, despite being in the minority, Prime members account for 56% of all of Amazon’s U.S. product sales.
And according to Hottovy’s report, the $79 annual subscription fee amounts to almost pure profit, making up one-third of Amazon’s consolidated segment operating income in 2012.
“Amazon Prime membership continues to grow, and we now have tens of millions of members worldwide. They benefit from all-you-can-eat free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items and our members have a voracious appetite,” said CEO Jeff Bezos, in a statement. “We are extremely grateful to our customers around the world and wish everyone the very best for the coming year."
Some other fun facts: on Cyber Monday, shoppers ordered more than 36.8 million items, which adds up to a record-breaking 426 items per second. Chromebooks topped the most widely purchased laptops, with the Samsung Chromebook coming in first place. And the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were so popular that at the peak of sales for the gaming consoles, customers were ordering more than 1,000 units per minute.
Additionally, more than half of all Amazon customers shopped from a mobile device this holiday season.
And of course, what would an Amazon “metrics” press release be without more vague Kindle sales data. Amazon said in the release that this year’s Cyber Monday weekend was the “best ever” for Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers.
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