While Amazon is normally reticent about unveiling details, the e-commerce giant Monday unleashed a load of specifics regarding its Prime program and holiday sales, saying the season was a record-breaker for its Prime program.
More than 3 million more people globally joined Prime during the third week of December, according to Amazon, sending its total membership into the “tens of millions.” Related Prime programs, like Prime Now same day delivery, is now available in more than 20 cities. The last Prime Now order of the season was delivered at a minute before midnight Christmas Eve to a customer in San Antonio, Texas, the company boasted.
But there were also numbers in the number-heavy press release that will be of most interest to Amazon’s competition, including the fact that almost 70% of Amazon’s customers shopped via mobile this season. On Cyber Monday alone, the company says, shoppers globally ordered more than 33 electronic devices per second from a mobile device. And customers shopping via Amazon’s mobile app more than doubled this season.
Amazon is not always so forthcoming with details, especially when it comes to its Prime program. But Monday the company sent out an end-of-year missive that closely resembles those litanies of accomplishments that some families send out at the holidays. And Monday’s press release, with its many details and boasts, is the sort of muscle-flexing that comes from confidence.
“This was another great holiday season to be a Prime member, and we welcomed three million new members in the third week of December alone,” said founder-CEO Jeff Bezos. “Over 200 million more items shipped for free with Prime this holiday, and members doubled their viewing hours of Prime Video compared to last year with the Amazon Original Series The Man in the High Castle leading the way as the most watched TV season ever on Prime Video. On behalf of Amazon employees around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and the very best for the coming year.”
There are all kinds of ways to look at the company’s Prime program, and Amazon revealed snapshots of it from several angles. Consider this: Amazon reported a record number of movies were watched on Prime Video this year; the company’s original series The Man in the High Castle was the most watched TV season on Prime Video by a factor of 4.5; this year Prime members in general doubled their viewing hours of Prime Video titles; and Prime members took advantage of their early access to more than 30,000 “Lightning Deals” (the company’s version of limited “door busters”).
Some statistics were dressed up a bit oddly, with no real way to assess their meaning. "The hours that kids spent reading in Amazon FreeTime this holiday season was enough time to travel beyond our solar system on a space shuttle," the company said, for example. And "the books read by kids in Amazon FreeTime this holiday season would reach Mt. Everest’s peak more than 10 times if put in a straight line in their physical form."
But it's the fact that the company reported Christmas Eve as the “biggest day ever” for Prime Now deliveries that will likely help ensure that same-day and even speedier delivery will at least get a close look from more retailers in 2016. And Amazon’s Prime program will likely also keep the pressure on for free delivery, considering that Amazon delivered 200 million more items this year than last without any attached shipping fees, a record.
While the company’s stats on Prime were impressive, they didn’t even mention its formidable search or its massive conversion rates.
Amazon even beats Google, with more than 40% (44%) of shoppers searching for products on Amazon than on search engines (34%) or retailers’ sites (21%), according to research from big-data marketing company BloomReach, conducted by consumer research firm Survata. That’s a big jump from three years ago, when Forrester Research pegged Amazon’s search at 30%.
That jibes with the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey, which found that some 40% of all adults “always” or “most of the time” search Amazon, compared to 10% who say they never do.
And half of Americans searching Amazon also make a purchase there, compared to the paltry 3% that retailers on average see search turn to purchase, that survey found.
To a great extent, Amazon’s search power and conversion rates go hand in hand, Jason Goldberg, VP of commerce for digital marketing firm Razorfish, told Retail Dive earlier this year.
“For a lot of people who want to do product research online you go to Amazon because they have information about every product in the world,” Goldberg said. “So Amazon has a huge head start, and that’s how Amazon becomes the online shopping destination.”