Amazon shared some staggering data (although nothing too specific) on Thursday as the company’s popular Prime membership service gained more than one million new subscribers in the third week of December alone. We already knew that Amazon wore the retailing crown, but this glimpse of information on the Prime service shows how integral it is to Amazon’s future, both on the traditional and mobile web.
A few key takeaways from Amazon’s holiday spectacular:
- Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend was the best ever for Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Amazon says “millions of customers unwrapped Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets this holiday season.”
- A total of 36.8 million items were ordered through Amazon on Cyber Monday, which works out to 426 items ordered every second.
- If you added up all of the items Amazon shipped enough items with Prime this holiday it would be equal to at least one gift to every household in America. That’s 115,226,802 items based on the 2012 U.S Census data.
- Amazon had to limit new Prime member sign ups during peak periods so existing members weren’t impacted. Time to scale some more AWS boxes for Prime services perhaps, or did Amazon worry about overloading its delivery partners?
This last databit, although fairly basic, is even more enlightening: Amazon says more than half of its customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday. That’s a tipping point of sorts as the mobile web was used more than desktop. And that jives with some data out from IBM — also released on Thursday — which says mobile traffic over the holiday season accounted for 48 percent of all web surfing. Overall sales, says IBM were near 29 percent of all online transactions this holiday, up 40 percent from the prior year.
The data may give pause for those that think Amazon’s Kindle Fire strategy of selling devices for little to no profit is a bad one. Particularly when you consider that IBM’s data shows smartphones accounted for more traffic than tablets, but tablets actually rang up more sales: to the tune of $95.61 per order compared to smartphone users, who averaged $85.11 per order.
Selling millions of Kindle Fire tablets may not make Amazon money up front, but as a simple one-stop-shopping device they clearly generate sales and revenue opportunity for Amazon. Add in a Prime membership with free two-day shipping for $79 a year and Amazon has a one-two retail punch that turns people into mobile shopaholics.