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Amazon says it now has more than 150m Prime members as it reports a 20% lift in full-year sales

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Amazon said overnight that its paid-for Prime subscription scheme now has more than 150m members around the world. The update came as it reported full-year and fourth quarter sales both up by a fifth as more customers joined Prime in a quarter than ever before.

The online retail giant, ranked Elite in IRUK Top500 research, reported net sales up by 20% to $280.5bn in its full year to December 31, and up by 21% to $87.4bn in the fourth quarter alone, both compared with the same periods last year. Net income – or profits – grew to $3.3bn in the fourth quarter from $3bn a year earlier, and to $11.6bn in the full-year from $10.1bn a year earlier.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, said: “Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year. And customers are responding – more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world. 

“We’ve made Prime delivery faster — the number of items delivered to US customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled this quarter compared to last year. Members now have free two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 2,000 U.S. cities and towns. Prime members watched double the hours of original movies and TV shows on Prime Video this quarter compared to last year, and Amazon Originals received a record 88 nominations and 26 wins at major awards shows.”

Amazon’s growth also comes as hundreds of millions of customers now have Alexa-enabled voice assistant devices that can support voice commerce. These customers, it said, interact with Alexa billions of times a week. 

The retailer said that in the US it has made Amazon Fresh a free benefit for Prime members. Members in more than 2,000 US cities and towns can now order grocery deliveries within two hours for free. Grocery delivery orders both from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market more than doubled in the fourth quarter, Amazon said.

It has also introduced free returns to more than 18,000 drop-off locations in the US, including its book stores and hubs as well as branches of Whole Foods Markets and UPS.

During the quarter it announced plans to be net zero carbon by 2040.

Image courtesy of Amazon

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