Amazon just surpassed a major milestone with Prime.
On Wednesday, the online giant released its 2017 annual report and along with it, the company published a letter to shareholders from founder Jeff Bezos. The letter outlined all of the e-tailer’s biggest accomplishments over the past year—while crediting the 560,000 Amazon employees for the high standards they set and maintain every day—but one in particular stood out.
Bezos, who has typically been reticent to reveal stats related to Prime, said the company has passed the 100 million paid member mark. And despite questions about a plateau, he said Amazon added more Prime memberships around the globe in 2017 than in any other year. The surge was fueled, in part, by Prime Day, the company’s annual sale bonanza, which resulted in the most new Prime memberships in a single day.
The scope and perks of the program keep growing with additional countries coming online like Mexico and the Netherlands, and services like Business Prime Shipping. Delivery also keeps getting faster with same-day and next-day now offered in more than 8,000 locations and Prime Now expediting deliveries in an hour in nine countries.
Prime has long been considered one of Amazon’s top weapons in the retail wars. As other retailers race to retool their loyalty programs, thus far none have proven as successful as Prime at convincing shoppers to turn to them first and most often.
The news about Prime’s membership rolls come just as Amazon reportedly announced it’s discontinuing Whole Foods’ loyalty program to make way for Prime as the membership program of choice at the grocer.
Though Bezos didn’t touch on this development in his letter, he did call out the Whole Foods acquisition as a high point for the company, underscoring the price cuts Amazon has instituted since the takeover.
In other Amazon news, marketplace sales surpassed the company’s direct sales for the first time last year, and sales of Amazon-branded hardware, including Fire TV Sticks and Echo devices, reached a new high.
Amazon is extending the sales opportunities for its devices with the newly announced tie-up with Best Buy. The electronics retailer will sell Fire TV-enabled smart televisions exclusively in its stores, on its site and through Amazon.
In apparel, Amazon introduced Prime Wardrobe, the service that allows shoppers to try before they buy; added Nike and Ugg to its assortment; and launched an interactive shopping experience with Calvin Klein that included pop-up shops and customization options.