Type of site
|Founded||2 February 2005|
|Revenue||$6.4 billion (2016)|
Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service offered by Amazon that gives users access to free two-day delivery (one-day in some areas), streaming music and video, and other benefits for a monthly or yearly fee. In April 2018, Amazon reported that Prime had more than 100 million subscribers worldwide.
In 2005, Amazon announced the creation of Amazon Prime, a membership service offering free two-day shipping within the contiguous United States on all eligible purchases for a flat annual fee of $79 (equivalent to $99 in 2017), and discounted one-day shipping rates. Amazon launched the program in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom in 2007; in France (as "Amazon Premium") in 2008, in Italy in 2011, in Canada in 2013, in India in July 2016 and in Mexico in March 2017.
Amazon Prime membership in Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and the United States also provides Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected films and TV programs at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members had access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which allows users to borrow up to one a month of specified popular Kindle e-books. People with an email address at an academic domain such as .edu or .ac.uk, typically students, are eligible for Prime Student privileges, including discounts on Prime membership.
In March 2014, Amazon increased the annual US membership fee for Amazon Prime from $79 to $99. Shortly after this change, Amazon announced Prime Music, providing unlimited, ad-free music streaming. In November 2014, Amazon added Prime Photos, adding unlimited storage of files deemed to be photographs in the users' Amazon Drive. Amazon began offering free same-day delivery to Prime members in 14 United States metropolitan areas in May 2015.
In April 2015, Amazon started a trial partnership with Audi and DHL in order to deliver directly into the trunks of Audi cars, available in the Munich, Germany area to some Audi-connected car users.
Amazon announced that July 15, 2015, its 20th birthday, would be "Amazon Prime Day", with deals for prime members similar to those on Black Friday. That month Amazon Prime announced signed up Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, formerly of BBC's Top Gear, to begin working on The Grand Tour, due to be released in 2016. On July 13, 2016, Amazon Prime said customers placed 60 percent more orders worldwide on "Prime Day".
In December 2015, Amazon stated that "tens of millions" of people were Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime added 3 million members during the third week of December 2015. That month Amazon announced the creation of the Streaming Partners Program, a subscription service that provides Amazon Prime subscribers with additional streaming video services. Among the programming providers involved in the program are Showtime, Starz (with additional content from sister network Encore), Lifetime Movie Club (containing recent original movie titles from Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network), Smithsonian Earth, and Qello Concerts.
In January 2016, Amazon Prime reached 54 million members according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Several reports in January 2016 said that nearly half of all U.S. households are members of Amazon Prime.
In April 2016, Amazon announced same-day delivery would be expanded to include the areas of Charlotte, Cincinnati, Fresno, Louisville, Milwaukee, Nashville, Central New Jersey, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Stockton, and Tucson, bringing total coverage to 27 metro areas.
In September 2016, Amazon subsidiary Twitch announced features available to users with an Amazon Prime subscription (Twitch Prime), including monthly offers of video games and add-on content, and the ability to purchase a free subscription to a user's channel once per-month.
In December 2016, Amazon announced Wickedly Prime, an own-brand line of food and beverages available to Prime members.
Amazon announced , a service that lets customers try on clothes before they pay, in June 2017.
In May 2018 Amazon increased the annual US Prime membership fee from $99 to $119.
Prime Music is a Spotify/Google Play Music competitor that offer a library of millions of songs to Amazon Prime members at no added cost. Amazon Prime members can stream and download music for free. Prime has a collection of over 2 million songs available for download without advertisements. Consumers who need a larger music library can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited with over 10 million songs for $7.99 and $9.99 for non-Prime members.
The service debuted on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the local program, which as of August 2014is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, the service rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.
Beginning in October 2016, Prime members in the U.S. receive access to a rotating set of Kindle e-books through Prime Reading. Some magazines and travel guides are also available through the service. Prime Reading is unrelated to the Kindle Owners Lending Library, Kindle Unlimited, and Kindle First, all of which continue to be available.
In April 2014, Amazon began a service for shipping non-perishable grocery store items into a single box for delivery for a flat fee. The service is available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, India, Japan, Italy, Spain, and France. This is an Amazon Prime member exclusive service that helps prime subscribers purchase household goods and get them delivered super-fast. At a flat rate of $6, Amazon Prime members can enjoy shipping a box of "pantries" to their homes. As you shop, Amazon quantifies the space each item takes up so that you can assess the number of boxes you need before check off and shipping.
In December 2014, Amazon announced that as a benefit to Prime members located in parts of Manhattan and New York City the capability to get products delivered to them within one hour for a fee of $7.99, or within two hours for no additional fee. As of 2014, 25,000 daily essential products were available with this delivery service. In February 2015, the service was extended to include all of Manhattan. By mid-2016, it had been expanded in the United States to include parts of Chicago, Miami, Baltimore,Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Portland, San Antonio, and Tampa. Outside of the United States, it has expanded to parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, and Singapore. To meet the on-demand needs of Prime Now, Amazon further launched Amazon Flex, a platform for independent contractors to provide delivery services.
In October 2017, Amazon.com added an option for Prime members to get in-home deliveries by its Amazon Flex contractors, who gain entry using a one-time code. The service, Amazon Key, became available for customers in the residing in 37 United States metro areas in April 2018. As of 2018 the service required a Kwikset or Yale smart lock and a special version of Amazon's Cloud Cam security camera.
Customers are given a time window of four hours for the package to be delivered. Once the courier opens the door, the Cloud Cam records a clip until the door is locked, which is sent to the customer's smartphone. Participants in the service can also use the Amazon Key companion app for iOS and Android to lock and unlock the door, monitor the camera, and issue virtual keys.
A month after the service was launched, a security expert found a flaw, since patched, in the system which would freeze the camera and stop image transmission.
Amazon Key In-Car is a service allowing owners of vehicles with OnStar (that are 2015+ models) or Volvo on Call, to get packages delivered in their vehicle's trunk. The service is available in the same areas as Amazon Key's In-Home delivery, but requires no additional hardware. Customers are provided with a four-hour delivery window. During that time, their vehicle must be located in a publicly accessible area.
60 Minutes announced on December 1, 2013 that Amazon Prime Air was a possible future delivery service expected to be in development for several more years. In concept, the process would use drones to deliver small packages (less than five pounds) within 30 minutes by flying short distances (10-20 km) from local Amazon Fulfillment Centers. In the United States, the project will require the Federal Aviation Administration to approve commercial use of unmanned drones.
In July 2014, it was revealed the company was developing its 8th and 9th drone prototypes, some that could fly 50 miles an hour and carry 5-pound packages, and had applied to the FAA to test them.
Despite the company's confidence, the project is not yet in flight, and Amazon are awaiting both patents and logistic agreements from the US and UK governments.
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In 2015, Amazon launched its own artificial holiday with Amazon Prime Day, offering deep discounts and deals only to people who were members of Prime at the time.
In 2018, Prime Day launched with frustration as the site was unable to handle the volume of traffic. To prevent a total crash, Amazon set up a "fall-back" page filled with pictures of dogs. They also cut international traffic while they hastily installed temporary servers to accommodate the large number of shoppers; this restored full functionality. The glitch had little impact on sales; the 2018 event broke the previous year's record.
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