Are you surprised to learn that in 2019, over half of U.S. households will have an Amazon Prime membership?

The Prime membership includes a number of benefits, such as free expedited shipping, free streaming entertainment, exclusive shopping deals, unlimited reading and more. It’s an inclusive membership, but it’s amazing to think that 51% of households have no problem spending $119 a year on it.

What is Amazon doing right?

100 Million Prime Memberships and Growing

In a 2018 letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the company had over 100 million Prime memberships around the globe in just 13 years. In the U.S., 2018 Prime memberships were at 58.7 million and expected to increase by 5.2 million this year. This increase comes after the June 2018 price bump from $99 to $119. The only other time the price was raised was in 2014 when Prime went from $79 to $99.

The increased price does come with more value, however, which is one of the reasons why people continue to front the fee. In addition to free expedited shipping, members also get Prime Now: a service that provides free two-hour deliveries for select zip codes. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 means more discounts on groceries.

Why Amazon Prime Memberships Continue to Rise

Memberships are nothing new or exciting. Many stores and businesses offer them, and people are usually hesitant to join. Some of the questions that come up are: What if I don’t use the membership each month? How do I know that the membership will save me money? Do I get special rewards for being a member?

If the consumer doesn’t feel that the membership is worth it, they won’t go through with it. So how is Amazon able to grow their memberships exponentially while the prices start to climb?

Members say they buy because:

  • They want relevant incentives. Consumers rely on the internet for household goods, groceries, holiday gifts, over-the-counter vitamins and medicines, etc. Because of these shopping preferences, they want incentives that make sense, such as fast and free shipping, in stock items, lower prices and no tax.

  • They like the personalized approach. Amazon stores a huge amount of data on buyer preferences, offering a tailored experience for each individual. Amazon is a trusted name, and the company can target users with relevant ads and above-the-fold product recommendations to increase conversions. When you sign into your account, you can pick up right where you left off, get recommendations on relevant products and more. Amazon even points out when other sellers have lower prices.

  • They already search for products on Amazon. Amazon is the number one shopping search engine, with 54% of product searches taking place on the site. It’s eclipsed even Google in the online marketplace, and these figures are slated to become even more skewed in Amazon’s favor.

  • They can easily find what they’re looking for. Amazon has more than 3 billion products. Rather than driving from store to store, shoppers can get the best deals delivered right to their doorstep. If Amazon doesn’t have a specific product, there is almost always a substitute.

In the end, Amazon’s strategy for memberships wins. Consumers feel that the membership pays for itself in the end with expedited shipping (sometimes on the same day) as well as competitive prices and free streaming services. And, Amazon continues to expand its offerings, giving members more value for their money. All of this makes Amazon a household staple in the U.S.