Amazon disclosed that it now counts 100 million Amazon Prime users in the U.S., and forecasts predict half of all U.S. households will have access to a Prime membership by the end of 2019. With such a wide reach, Amazon Prime shapes consumer expectations about online shopping. 

By learning more about Prime members, brands can better hone their own strategies for selling and advertising on the Amazon platform – and emulate Amazon’s best practices to improve their own loyalty programs. That’s why we recently surveyed Prime members about who they are and how they shop. 

Here are some of our key findings.
 

Who uses Amazon Prime? 

 
There are three main groups with distinct shopping behaviors and spending habits:

  1. Family Savers
  2. Amazon Natives
  3. Prime Superusers 

 

Family Savers:

 
Family Savers — mainly married, partnered, or divorced parents — make up 54% of Prime members overall. Their income tends to skew toward the higher end: 70% earn $50,000 or more, and more than 41% earn over $90,000. 

They prioritize thrift and convenience: 19.2% use Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” service, and they’re more likely than other groups to take advantage of other discount offerings. 61.1% of Family Savers compare prices on other sites before choosing where to buy. 


 

Amazon Natives:

 
23% percent of Prime users belong to Generation Z (defined as ages 18 to 24) or the Millennial generation (ages 25 to 34). We call these users Amazon Natives because they’ve grown up with Amazon as a dominant force in retail and view it as a go-to mass merchant.

The majority of Amazon Natives are single, have no children, and earn less than $50,000 annually. They tend to be more comfortable than average using newer Prime benefits like Wardrobe, and access Amazon most often from a mobile browser or the app. 

 
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Prime Superusers:

 
30% of Prime members spend more than $100 on Amazon.com each month. These loyal members are Prime Superusers.  

Their income skews higher than average, with 83% earning over $50,000 per year and 12% earning $211,000 and up.

Prime Superusers make the most of their memberships by taking advantage of everything Prime has to offer: 52% use Prime services above and beyond free shipping, and 80% plan to shop on Prime Day. 
 
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What and how do Prime members buy?

 
Prime members spend the most on these categories:

  1. Home goods 
  2. Electronics
  3. Apparel

 
60% of Prime members ranked home goods as their first or second highest spending category. 53% total chose electronics as one of their top two.

In terms of frequency of purchase, these categories rank highest:

  1. Home goods 
  2. Electronics
  3. Self-Care/Beauty

 

Home goods and electronics are also purchased most frequently by Prime members, with 56% and 49% of respondents respectively ranking them in the top spots. 

Now we know what they buy, but how do these shoppers shop?

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Mobile wins big among Prime members: 56.8% of Prime members use their mobile devices to buy on Amazon. 29.9% use the Amazon app, and 26.9% buy via mobile web browsers. Desktop is a pretty close second: just under 42% use their desktop or laptop browsers. 

Voice ordering through Amazon Alexa comes in a distant fourth place, with just 1.4% of Prime members say they prefer voice ordering through an Amazon Echo or Dot.

 

What are Prime members’ favorite perks? 

 
Free shipping is the most powerful discount in all of ecommerce: More than half of shoppers say it’s the most important factor for online shopping.

Not surprisingly, Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping is by far the most popular Prime membership benefit. 70.2% of Prime users overall say free two-day or same-day delivery is the feature they value most.

In fact, Prime members tend to ignore other benefits: 62% of members say they’ve never used services like Amazon Fresh or Subscribe and Save.

Prime members also love Prime Day: Last year’s event out-earned Amazon’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales. Nearly 71% of Prime members said they plan to shop on Prime Day this year. And it looks like the reign of daily deals and flash sales have come to an end: Prime Day far outperforms Amazon’s “Lightning Deals” and “Deal of the Day” programs.

 

How loyal are Prime users? 

 
Prime members rely on Amazon to guide every phase of the shopping journey. While 77% of Prime members prefer buying from Amazon to buying directly from brands, 73% are open to trying new brands. This is promising for marketplace sellers — as long as you offer Prime shipping and have good reviews. 

 

Hot Takes

 
At the end of the day, the buying habits and behaviors of Prime members shape expectations for online shopping as a whole. Prime members’ clear preferences for key benefits, promotions, and product categories can teach all merchants a lot about surviving and thriving in an Amazon-dominated world.

“You need to meet your consumer on Amazon — even if your products aren’t there. If you don’t own your branded space on Amazon, someone else will.” -Nancy McLaughlin, Senior Manager, Marketplace Channels at Tinuiti

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Some of our top takeaways include:

  • Prime users are willing to try new brands and products — as long as they can find them on Amazon. This means there’s a big opportunity for merchants on the marketplace platform to acquire new customers.  

 

  • Brand content helps differentiate your brand and encourage Prime members to seek you out both on and off the platform.

 

  • Consider core personas when planning your Amazon strategy, especially when it comes to Sponsored Brands. Figure out your audience’s Prime member personas and adjust accordingly.

 

  • Free shipping is now considered table stakes. Make sure your most loyal customers get the best shipping options, whether by awarding them expedited service, VIP pickup lines in stores, or lower or no purchase thresholds. 

 

For the complete survey and more actionable takeaways, [download the full report here.]

 

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