Amazon is yet to officially reveal how many consumers worldwide participate in its Amazon Prime membership programme, but offered some new figures related to the adoption and growth of the programme.
The company announced yesterday that more new, paid members joined Prime worldwide in 2017 than any other year and noted that over 5 billion items worldwide were shipped with Prime in 2017, including via one-day and two-day shipping.
The company has for the first time revealed details of the number of items it shipped via Prime in a year's time and also declined to provide last year's figures for comparison purposes.
It said last year that a billion items were shipped via Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon during the 2016 holidays.
According to commentators, to some extent the increases in membership and shipments represent the expanded reach of Prime in 2017, and its more recent arrival in key markets, not only in terms of its ability to convert online shoppers to paying members.
For instance, Prime debuted in Mexico in 2017, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Singapore, in addition to existing markets including the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria.
Commentators, point out that a factor in Prime's growth is the fact that it is still relatively new to one of the world's biggest markets, India, where it launched back in July 2016.
According to commentators, Amazon is clearly proud of Prime, which has, over the years, grown from a fast-shipping programme, to an expansive video service, to a ticketing and live event service, and much more.
Amazon's own products, the Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot took the top selling spot across all categories and manufacturers. Another item in the hot selling category has become synonymous with Amazon Prime: The Instant Pot. According to Amazon, the item was the most gifted Amazon Wedding Registry item. It was also on the most Wish Lists and was delivered to over 27,000 US zip codes in 2017.
More than 100 million items are available for two-day delivery via Prime, double the amount Amazon was trumpeting a year ago.
To ship all those items and fill all those orders, Amazon upped its global footprint of distribution centers by 30 percent this year. In the US alone, more than 6,000 trucks and 32 Amazon Air planes traversed the roads and skies, packed with Amazon packages.
To grow the Prime pie even further, Amazon has steadily been opening the program to more potential customers. In 2017 Amazon expanded the program to Mexico, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Singapore, making 16 countries around the world with access to Prime.
Amazon also began offering versions of the fast-shipping program to business customers and people on government assistance.