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Amazon Prime accounts for half of all holiday sales, grows 38% over 2017

Amazon Prime sales accounted for half of all holiday sales during 2017. The service showed 38% growth over last year, outpacing total e-commerce retail sales which grew 18% for the season.

According to data released by GBH Insights, Amazon Prime accounted for between 45% and 50% of all online holiday sales this past season. Subscribers spent an average of 22% more than they did last year. GBH Insights head of technology research Daniel Ives called Amazon Prime the “golden jewel of the Bezos empire." The research company's data estimates there are 88 million Prime accounts. GBH Insights analyzed Amazon's holiday performance in comparison to Walmart, Target and Best Buy. It found the prices and inventory offered to Prime members functioned like a "ring-fence" around Prime subscribers that "significantly benefited the company in a fiercely competitive pricing environment." Ives explained, "While [Walmart] is emerging as Amazon’s biggest sole competitor online, we believe customer overlap remains small today as Prime membership growth and Amazon’s ‘stronghold on e-commerce’ remain hard to penetrate as we expect this trend to play out in the near-term heading into 2018." The data supports GBH Insights' note, with the company reporting 4 million new Prime subscribers per week. Top selling items on Prime across all categories were Amazon's Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick. GBH Insights expects to see Amazon continue to grow its Echo product line, Alexa, and see more Whole Foods integration. Amazon Web Services cloud product may temporarily depress margins because it is seen as a long term investment. Marketwatch reports Amazon stock is up 53.5% over last year. Other retailers whose stock showed growth from increased holiday sales include JCPenney, Walmart, and Kohl's.

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