More than two-thirds of Amazon shoppers are Prime members, the highest figure recorded by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) since the company started tracking it in 2012, adding there are now 142 million Prime members in the U.S. as the pandemic floods its ranks.
Prime is also as sticky as ever. CIRP found that it has a 98%+ renewal rate for members using the service for more than two years.
“Amazon Prime membership showed strong growth in the past year, in large part due to of COVID-19 quarantines,” said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP in a release. “After several quarters of slower growth, consumers joined Prime at a rate last seen more than four years ago. CIRP estimates that 30 million additional shoppers used an Amazon Prime membership in the year, as consumers naturally flocked to the free shipping and streaming media benefits as the pandemic kept them at home.”
One unusual finding from CIRP’s latest research was that the percentage of Prime members with an annual vs. a monthly membership actually went up in the fourth quarter, from 49% to 52%. In the past, most shoppers who signed up for Prime during the holidays did so to grab perks like free two-day shipping, then later bailed. It was the first time the percentage had increased in Q4 since the monthly option was introduced in December 2016.
“Since Amazon introduced a monthly pay option, Amazon has often seen a jump in monthly memberships in the December quarter,” said Mike Levin, Partner and CoFounder of CIRP. “We attribute that to holiday shoppers wanting Prime shipping benefits. In the December quarter new and renewing members took advantage of the lower annualized cost of a yearly membership, and with that made a longer commitment to Amazon Prime. These new members will be around well into 2021.”
Another unusual wrinkle this past year was Prime Day being held in October instead of July, as the pandemic forced Amazon to shift the date at least twice. It still managed to break records and steal some holiday thunder.
According to company filings, the last six quarters showed year-on-year Prime growth of 39%, 35%, 32%, 29%, 30% and 32%, respectively.
CIRP’s findings were based on surveys of 500 U.S. consumers who made a purchase on Amazon from October to December 2020. Statista estimated worldwide Prime members at 150 million as of 2019, 114 million in the U.S.