For the first time, Amazon has revealed the number of subscribers in its Prime membership program — 100 million in the U.S. In a stunning deviation from typical protocol for Prime-related information, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed the total in an annual letter to shareholders.
In the past, Amazon has only disclosed vague information about the number of Prime subscribers, such as the program having “tens of millions of members.” The updated number highlights the growth of the company’s subscription service, which Amazon has pushed heavily over the years as a way to retain customers who, in turn, fuel its core retail business with each purchase.
In fact, the 100 million number exceeds estimates from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which suggested that the loyalty program had 90 million subscribers in October 2017. While traditional loyalty programs often focused on discount-related perks, Amazon took membership a step further with additional content such as music and video streaming.
In addition to membership numbers, Bezos said in the letter that the company had shipped more than five billion items in 2017 as part of its Prime service and that “more new members joined Prime than in any previous year.”
“Amazon’s disclosure that its Prime membership program has crossed the 100-million-member threshold globally reflects the power of the program, and validates the continuing substantial investments on various fronts to both attract and maintain this important core base,” stated Moody’s Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O’Shea in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints.
Despite the recent revelations, the e-Commerce giant still holds almost all data related to Prime very close to the chest. The company has never released Prime revenue numbers, average order value per member or member retention rates. Additionally, while Bezos mentioned Amazon Fashion in the shareholder letter, he didn’t mention how many people have used the recently launched Prime Wardrobe service.
The disclosure comes right after Whole Foods announced it would end its 365 Rewards program and digital coupons by May 1. An email to members of the loyalty program indicated that it will soon be folded into Prime, further expanding Amazon’s reach to these consumers.
The next major barometer for the program’s growth will likely take place overseas. In 2017, Amazon expanded Prime to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Prime was already offered in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, India, Japan, Italy, Spain and France. While Amazon is currently losing money on its global expansion, it’s likely the retailer will continue to impress investors as long as it continues to show Prime memberships increasing.