Amazon Prime hits 100 million paid members
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has released his latest annual shareholders letter, revealing that over 100 million people now avail the company's Prime Membership. This is the first time in Amazon Prime's 13-year-old history that an official number of subscribers has been revealed. Bezos added that Amazon Prime saw its best year ever in 2017, with users ordering over five billion products under it.
Amazon Prime is a premium offering for $99 that includes a slew of perks like free two-day shipping, access to Amazon's Prime Video streaming service, exclusive deals, and music and free online photo storage. Last year, the company included additional digital perks for Prime members like Amazon Key in-home deliveries and free access to Double Jeopardy!, a paid subscription game on Echo smart speakers.
Amazon Prime is available in 16 countries currently including Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, China, India, Japan, Singapore, and the US, which is the service's biggest market so far. It is expected to come to Australia later this year.
"Amazon.in is the fastest growing marketplace in India, and the most visited website on both desktop and mobile," Bezos said. "Prime added more members in India in its first year than any geography in Amazon's history. Prime selection in India now includes over 40 million local products, and Prime Video is investing in original video content in India in a big way," he added.
For the first ever, Amazon has also disclosed the median annual pay for employees other than Bezos at $28,446. As for Bezos, his total compensation in 2017 was $1.68 million, which included $81,840 in salary and $1.6 million in "security arrangements." The ratio between the median pay of Amazon employees and Bezos's total compensation is 1:59.
"People are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure. High standards are contagious. Bring a new person to a high standards team, and they'll quickly adapt. The opposite is also true. If low standards prevail, those too will quickly spread," he said.
Bezos also revealed that for the first time in Amazon's history, the company's third-party marketplace has accounted for over half of its sales. The marketplace refers to the 2 million independent sellers who put up their goods on Amazon to widen their reach. This also helps Amazon expand its inventory. In 2017, third-party marketplace sales have accounted for 50-51% of the total sales.
Bezos attaches a copy of his first 1997 letter to all his new letters to remind shareholders that "it remains Day 1." He thinks Amazon should always be in "Day 1" mode, which follows the principle of relying on the results instead of the process. "Day 1″ entails a "disagree and commit" system where employees can disagree to still work toward the same goal.