Celebrating its 20th year, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) reached an estimated 44 million Prime members, adding about 3 million people in the past three months. A quarterly report estimated the number of Prime members in the U.S. and nearly half (47 percent) of Amazon's U.S. shoppers are now members, up from 42 percent in May, according to market researcher Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
"U.S. Amazon Prime membership has grown significantly since we first started measuring it in 2012," Josh Lowitz, CIRP's co-founder told CNet. "It has more than doubled in a little more than two years."
Prime membership offers free, two-day shipping, a streaming-video library and other benefits. Shoppers are still joining, despite last year's hike in annual fees from $79 to $99. Membership has become a central growth strategy for the e-commerce company as members spend nearly twice as much as nonmembers. In fact, latest reports from CIRP show that Prime members spend $1,200 annually, while other customers spend around $700.
The success of Prime is now trying to be imitated by other retailers. For example, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is testing a free, three-day shipping service called ShippingPass and Jet.com, launching later this year, is also focused on membership benefits.
In order to reward Prime members and encourage new shoppers to sign up, Amazon is hosting a Prime Day this week, which boasts offers better than Black Friday.
-See this CNet article
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