Whenever someone suggests that Jeff Bezos might not be the right person to lead Amazon, just remember that Amazon Prime was his idea, and it may be one of the most-brilliant ideas in recent memory. Not only does Prime’s annual fee pull in $100 per subscriber for Amazon, it encourages users to spend money, and it’s been shown that Prime subscribers spend nearly twice as much money on Amazon’s services as non-subscribers. With that in mind, I’m sure you can imagine how happy Amazon’s investors were to hear that one in six Americans subscribe to Prime as of the end of 2015, a 35% increase from the year prior.
One in six Americans was a member of the Amazon Prime service at the end of the most recent holiday season, a 35 percent boost from a year before, according to a survey from a retail research firm released Monday. The report, by Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), says that nearly half of Amazon.com’s U.S. customers, or 54 million people, have signed up for Prime, a program that offers free two-day shipping for many purchases, as well as services such as streaming video and music. Members pay $99 a year. The 54 million figure, if true, could put Amazon Prime’s U.S. enrollment in the territory of crosstown rival Costco Wholesale, which has 83 million cardholders among 45 million annual fee-paying households across its global operations. Costco doesn’t break down how many of those members are in the U.S., but about 70 percent of its warehouses are in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Based on those figures, it could be assumed that about 58 million of its cardholders are in the U.S. CIRP data is based on a survey of 500 U.S. participants who bought items from Amazon between October and December. Amazon is vague about how many people are part of the program. “There are tens of millions of Prime members,” a spokeswoman said. Monday. Those subscribers spend nearly $1,100 per year at the online retailer, nearly twice as much as nonmembers do, according to CIRP.