Jeff Bezos: Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members

Alberto E. Rodriguez  Getty Images

Bezos has always been a little cagey about sharing Amazon statistics.

In 2017, Amazon bought $3.2 million worth of ads from The Washington Post and spent $4.9 million "related to digital content", for a total of $8.1 million.

Prime - a 13-year-old membership program that includes unlimited two-day shipping, a streaming video library and a bunch of other perks - is a vital part of Amazon's business, since members tend to spend about twice as much on the website as non-Prime shoppers, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. This is the first time he's publicly stated how many Prime members the company has signed up.

Previous estimates had pegged Amazon's Prime membership at around 90 million, but this number had not been confirmed by the company.

A recent survey from Loop Capital Markets indicated that 23% of Prime members would definitely cancel their membership if streaming were not included. Prime costs $99 a year or $12.99 a month in the United States, with similar membership prices in 15 other countries.

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Bezos said more new Prime members joined on Prime Day 2017 than on any other day in the company's history.

The fees are just one way Amazon makes money off the program.

Amazon shares climbed 1.5% after Bezos's letter was published. "Focusing on Prime membership is an excellent strategy for Amazon".

The marketplace is an important business because it vastly expands Amazon's inventory and it's generally more profitable than its direct sales, since Amazon doesn't purchase the items itself. Having "high standards" is the key, he wrote.

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