A staggering 1.3% of the world’s population now have an Amazon Prime membership as paid subscriptions pass the 100 million mark.

The figures were revealed by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos last night in his annual letter to shareholders. A Prime membership costs around $99 or £79 a year.

A subscription service, Amazon Prime was launched 13 years ago. It has since evolved to offer subscribers access to next-day shipping (and, increasingly, same day shipping) in 8,000 cities and towns, and unlimited two-day shipping throughout the US.

Further perks include free video and music streaming, unlimited photo storage, early access to Amazon’s ‘lightning deals’, and reduced prices for many of its other services.

In 2017, Amazon expanded Prime to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg and introducing Business Prime Shipping the US and Germany. Amazon shipped more than five billion items worldwide with Prime last year.

Prime has allowed online shopping giant to keep up with the demands of customers that Bezos described in his letter as ‘divinely discontent’, noting that ‘we didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied’.

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By GlobalData

Bezos also outlined other milestones from the last year for shareholders.

His boasts included:

  • The growth of cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, with ‘more than 1,400 significant services and features’
  • 300,000 US-based SMEs using the Amazon Marketplace platform to sell their products
  • Wide adoption of Amazon’s AI home assistant Alexa
  • The best-year yet for hardware sales of Amazon devices
  • The acquisition of high-end grocery brand Whole Foods
  • The opening of Amazon Go, a check-out-less grocery store in Seattle
  • Amazon.in become the fastest growing marketplace in India, and the most visit site on both desktop and mobile
  • The launch of Amazon Wind Farm Texas, the company’s largest wind farm (Amazon says that it eventually aims to use 100% renewable energy)
  • Expansion of Amazon’s global employee base to 560,000 people and increased educational programs for employees