In a letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO, detailed highlights of the 2017 fiscal year, and revealed that the company has exceeded 100 million paid Prime memberships worldwide just 13 years after the program’s launch.
In 2017, Amazon said it shipped more than five billion items purchased through Prime worldwide.
More new members joined Prime last year than in any previous year, Bezos stated in the letter, both worldwide and in the U.S. Today, Prime members in the U.S. receive unlimited free two-day shipping on over 100 million different items, he indicated. Amazon has expanded Prime to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, even as it introduced Business Prime Shipping in the U.S. and Germany.
To maintain momentum in the program, Amazon is making Prime shipping faster, Bezos maintained, with Prime free same-day and Prime free. Prime members can get one-day delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns, he pointed out, and Prime Now is available in more than 50 cities worldwide across nine countries.
Prime Day 2017 was Amazon’s biggest global shopping event ever until surpassed by the latest Cyber Monday, he added, with more new members joining the Prime program than during any other day in the company’s history.
Other highlights Bezos included in the letter:
- Amazon Web Services, a $20 billion revenue run rate business, accelerated its growth and pace of innovation, especially in new areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and serverless computing.
- In 2017, for the first time in company history, more than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide came from third-party sellers, including small and medium-sized businesses as more than 300,000 U.S.-based SMBs started selling on Amazon during the year.
- Alexa-enabled devices emerged as among the best-selling items across all of Amazon, with the voice control system incorporating more than 30,000 skills developed by outside developers and providing control for more than 4,000 smart home devices from 1,200 unique brands.
- Customers purchased tens of millions of Echo devices in 2017. Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa were the best-selling products across all of Amazon.
- Amazon introduced its first fashion-oriented Prime benefit in 2017, Prime Wardrobe, a new service that brings the fitting room directly to the homes of Prime members so they can try on the latest styles before they buy.
- After acquiring the food retailer, Amazon conducted two rounds of price reductions at Whole Foods Market and introduced free two-hour delivery on orders over $35 for Prime members in select cities while adding pick-up lockers for Amazon purchases.
- The Treasure Truck expanded from a single vehicle in Seattle to a fleet of 35 trucks across 25 U.S. and 12 U.K. cities, fulfilling hundreds of thousands of orders.
- In 2017, Amazon celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Frustration-Free Packaging, the first of several sustainable packaging initiatives that have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials over the past 10 years.