Prime’s spread among US households could be slowing, however, as it starts to reach a saturation point. In Bank of America’s survey, 74% of respondents said either they or a member of their household was a Prime member, up from 68% in 2019 but down slightly from 77% in 2018. Prime, however, still has plenty of room to grow overseas.

Prime is helping Amazon grow internationally

In recent months, Amazon’s international sales have soared, supercharged by pandemic-related lockdowns in places such as the UK and Europe. Many shoppers are undoubtedly trying Prime, as the growth in global subscribers indicates. In addition to using the service for home delivery of groceries and other items, many users also want access to Prime’s streaming video, as Dave Fildes, the company’s head of investor relations, explained on an April 29 call with investors and analysts:

We look at Prime Video as a component of the broader Prime membership and making sure it’s driving adoption and retention as it is. It’s a significant acquisition channel in Prime countries. We look at it and see that members who watch video have higher free trial conversion rates, higher renewal rates, higher overall engagement. And there’s great examples of places like Brazil, where you launch a video-only subscription, for example, that preceded the broader Prime membership with shipping components, and that was, as an example, a great way to expose people to Amazon. And as we launched the broader Prime in Brazil, it was a great mechanism to [get] folks into that program.

When it announced its latest quarterly results, Amazon said more than 175 million of its 200 million-plus Prime members globally have streamed shows and movies in the past year, while streaming hours were up more than 70% compared to the prior year.

It remains to be seen how many subscribers will keep paying for Prime after the pandemic eventually subsides. For now, new users keep signing up, and historically at least, once they do they’re likely to stick with it.

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