Amazon Prime Subscriber Growth May Be Slowing


Recode estimates Amazon Prime subscribers to be currently at 66 million:

Amazon announced in its earnings release that it added “tens of millions” of new Prime members in 2016. A spokesman confirmed to Recode that these were net additions.

That means Amazon added at least 20 million paid members last year, on top of the 46 million base from the previous year. Amazon now has at least 66 million paying Prime members. […]

Here is the calculation from a year ago that led to the estimation of 46 million Prime subscribers.

Amazon is not revealing relative growth numbers for Amazon Prime in 2016:

In 2014, Prime membership numbers grew 53 percent, the company previously said. In 2015, growth was 51 percent. In 2016? Amazon hasn’t said.

Amazon doesn’t disclose, or withhold, any numbers by accident. There’s a reason, so I asked a spokesman for that reason. He said he’ll have to get back to me, and I’ll update this post if he does.

For now, I’ll have to take an educated guess: Prime membership growth is decelerating quicker than it did from 2014 to 2015 and Amazon doesn’t want to reveal that.

Yes, this indicates heavily that growth has slowed down.

Possible reasons:

  • Increasing saturation in the US market (Which would actually be good news for Amazon. It means competitors like Walmart will have a very hard time against Amazon. The advantage of not only being the first mover but, after years and years, still being the only mover.)
  • International markets are not growing fast enough to offset the saturation in the US.

Another reason could be increasing customer churn. But as there really are not any meaningful competing products to Amazon Prime in its Western markets this is rather unlikely to be substantial enough to move the needle.

But who knows?

This is all just Kreminology. If the company not only refuses to release absolute numbers but also relative numbers we’re left with assuming, and some of us may assume the worst.

(For example, this CIRP report came to the conclusion of 54 million Prime members in the US alone at the same time (January ’16) Recode concluded there were 46 million subscribers worldwide. Until investors demand more transparency we’ll never know.)

More on this topic:


  1. […] to follow closely, crunched the recently released numbers around Amazon Prime. First, he concludes as well that Amazon Prime subscriber growth is slowing in relative numbers: […]


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