Amazon Prime’s membership tops more than 100 million accounts worldwide, the company said this afternoon, revealing the number of subscribers to its fast-shipping program for the first time.
With a cost of $99 annually — or $12.99 per month — that means Amazon is bringing in at least $9.9 billion per year in membership fees. That figure would account for approximately 5.5 percent of Amazon’s $177.87 billion in revenue for 2017.
Amazon broke out the number of paid Prime members for the first time in its annual shareholder letter Wednesday. Before this disclosure it was left to surveys to estimate how many Prime members there were. In October a survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated 90 million U.S. households were Prime members.
For a comparison, Recode noted that HBO and Netflix have more subscribers — 142 million and 125 million, respectively — than Amazon Prime. But Prime is more ubiquitous than several other well known subscription services such as Spotify (71 million members), Hulu (17 million) and Tinder (3 million).
Amazon said it shipped more than 5 billion Prime items worldwide in 2017, and more new members joined the program this year than any past year.
Prime includes an ever expanding basket of goodies such as free, two-day shipping on more than 100 million items, access to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, benefits on its game-streaming platform Twitch and more. These benefits surely cancel out a lot of that revenue coming from membership fees, but one of CIRP’s findings — that Prime spent twice as much on Amazon as non-members at $1,300 per year versus $700 — shows why Amazon has pushed so hard to sign up new subscribers.
Prime is one of the main “pillars” of Amazon’s business. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in 2016 that the company’s goal “is to make sure that if you are not a Prime member, you are being irresponsible.”
Expect Prime to become an even more important tenet for the company as its Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke noted last year when the acquisition of Whole Foods Market closed that Amazon planned to make Prime the default customer rewards program for Whole Foods.