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By Brad Tuttle
April 25, 2017
jahcottontail143—Getty Images

Amazon keeps growing at an insane, retailer-wrecking pace.

As many brick-and-mortar retailers are closing stores and declaring bankruptcy, the world’s largest e-retailer has been dramatically expanding the ranks of its seemingly unstoppable Amazon Prime subscription service. The service, which costs $99 per year (or $10.99 per month), includes perks such as unlimited streaming of Prime video content, unlimited photo storage, and free two-day shipping on most orders.

There are reportedly now 80 million Prime members in the U.S. That’s up 38% in one year and double the total from 2015. Here’s another way of looking at this crazy number: There are roughly 125 million households in the U.S., so Prime membership has infiltrated perhaps close to two-thirds of all American homes.

Amazon doesn’t release precise membership data related to Prime, so we are relying on figures from the consumer market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), which has chronicled Prime membership growth as it has risen an estimated 40 million in March 2015, up to 54 million in early 2016, onward to 80 million by the end of March 2017.

According to CIRP, roughly 60% of the people who shop at Amazon are now Prime members. One way that Amazon appears to have been able to boost Prime subscriptions has been the introduction of a by-the-month payment option last April. An estimated 26% of Prime members now pay $10.99 per month, rather than $99 for an annual subscription, CIRP reported.

Research from CIRP also bolsters a point we at Money have stressed in the past—that Amazon Prime should come with a warning, that once you become a member, you will spend a ton more cash at Amazon. The CIRP report estimates that Prime members spend an average of $1,300 per year at Amazon, versus $700 for non-members.

It’s a good thing, then, that Prime members appear to be disproportionally well-off: Previous research has indicated that upwards of 70% of upper-income Americans (households earning $112,000 or more annually) are Prime subscribers.

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Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST