- Research firm CIRP estimates Amazon (AMZN -0.8%) now has 16.7M Prime subs, up 72% from a year-ago level of 9.7M. The firm also reports 93% of Prime subs responding to a survey said they're happy with the service, and plan to renew.
- The estimate meshes with a recent report from Dan Rayburn, who was told by an Amazon insider the e-commerce giant ended Q3 with 15M+ Prime subs.
- Amazon's October decision to hike its minimum free shipping order size to $35 from $25 could be fueling a pickup in Prime subscriptions (free two-day shipping for $79/year, no order minimum). More recently, Amazon struck a deal with the USPS to enable Sunday delivery for Prime subs in major metro areas.
- If CIRP's estimate is reasonably accurate, it means close to 17M Amazon accounts now have access to Prime Instant Video (whether they're using it is a whole other question). Rival Netflix (NFLX -0.2%) ended Q3 with 31.1M U.S. streaming subs.
- Separately, Janney estimates Kiva Systems' robots could lower Amazon's per-order fulfillment costs by 20%-40% from a current $3.50-$3.75. That, in turn, spells estimated cost savings of $458M-$916M/year.
- Amazon mentioned in its Q3 report it deployed 1,382 Kiva robots during the quarter in three fulfillment centers.