Amazon mulling Prime price hike; shares now -4.7% AH

|By:, SA News Editor

Amazon (AMZN) states on its Q4 CC it's thinking of raising Amazon Prime's price for U.S. subs (currently $79/year) by $20-$40/year.

The remark follows a 2013 in which Prime, from all indications, saw tremendous growth; Macquarie recently confirmed Amazon now has 20M+ Prime subs. Amazon's October decision to hike its free shipping minimum by $10 to $35 may have led to a late-year pickup in Prime sign-ups.

Though off their AH lows, shares continue trading lower in response to Amazon's Q4 miss and largely below-consensus revenue guidance. North American and international revenue growth rates of 26% and 13% Y/Y represent slowdowns from Q3 levels of 31% and 15%.

Price hikes or not, Amazon continues to spend aggressively: Fulfillment spend rose to 11.4% of revenue from 10.6% a year ago. Marketing spend rose to 4.4% from 4%, and tech/content spend rose to 7.2%  from 6.3%. On the other hand, gross margin rose to 26.5% from 24.1%.

Amazon Web Services remains a bright spot: Amazon's North American "Other" revenue (dominated by AWS) rose 16% Q/Q and 52% Y/Y to $1.17B.