The number of Amazon Prime members keeps growing.
Data released Tuesday from securities research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates that Amazon.com Inc. now has 80 million Prime customers in the United States, up 37.9% from 58 million this time last year.
That 80 million figure comes from a survey of 500 U.S. shoppers who bought on Amazon during the first quarter of 2017 and represents about 60% of total Amazon shoppers, according to CIRP. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 257.6 million people age 15 or older living in the United States and 125.8 million households, meaning that 31.1% of U.S. residents 15 and older or 63.6% of all U.S. households have a Prime membership.
Prime is Amazon’s annual membership program that offers such perks as free two-day delivery on over 40 million Prime-eligible items as well as perks such as access to movies and same-day delivery in a growing number of markets through the Prime Now service. Shoppers can sign up for a $99 annual membership or a $10.99 monthly membership, an option that Amazon has offered since April 2016.
Amazon, No. 1 in the just-released Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000, does not release the number of Prime members that it has. Here’s a look at CIRP’s estimates of Amazon Prime members over the past 12 months:
Not only is the number of Prime customers growing, so too is the percentage of Prime members that subscribe monthly. CIRP reports that 26% of Prime members in the U.S. are monthly subscribers. That’s up from 21% in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. Here’s a look at how Amazon’s monthly Prime memberships have grown over the past four quarters:
“We think that the monthly membership option appeals to the later Prime adopters, with a smaller, potentially temporary commitment, that ultimately yields a long-term commitment,” said Josh Lowitz, partner and co-founder at CIRP. “With smaller dollar, single-month decisions, the new plan winds up helping with retention rates, which already average 85% for a member renewing after their first year [of having a Prime membership].”
Those Prime members are valuable to Amazon, as CIRP estimates each Prime member spends nearly double ($1,300) the amount a non-Prime member ($700) spends on Amazon. Also, Amazon increasingly is where consumers start their search when they shop online. 55% of U.S. consumers began their product searches on Amazon last year, up from 44% in 2015, according to data released by BloomReach in September 2016.
Those shoppers are also valuable because they are wealthier, on average, than non-Prime members. According to an exclusive survey of 2,815 U.S. consumers done by Internet Retailer in conjunction with Bizrate Insights, 34.9% of all households with an Amazon Prime membership earn more than $100,000 per year, compared to 18.7% of households without a Prime membership.
Amazon will report its first quarter earnings on Thursday.