Amazon has come out swinging on Boxing Day.
The ecommerce behemoth said on Friday that more than 10 million customers had signed up to try its Prime delivery service during the holiday season.
Amazon has closely guarded the number of customers who pay for the service, which also includes streaming TV, movies, books and music along with free two-day shipping on most items. An analyst estimate from September said there could be around 50 million customers for the service, which would mean Amazon added an impressive 20% at the end of 2014.
An Amazon representative said that the 10 million number represented customers who tried Prime for the first time. Amazon currently offers a free 30-day trial of the service, which automatically switches to the $99/year rate unless a customer cancels the subscription.
Amazon did not provide many specific numbers about total orders for the holiday season, but it touted growth in certain areas. Efforts to provide customers with ultra-fast delivery proved successful, as Amazon reported that customers ordered more than 10 times as many items with its same-day delivery option as compared to 2013. The company expanded same-day delivery service to six new cities in August.
Quite a few of Amazon's customers were on the move, as 60% of them ordered via mobile devices — a trend that accelerated as the holidays approached. Total sales via the company's smartphone app doubled from the year before, the company said in its press release.The numbers put a silver lining on what has otherwise been a difficult year for Amazon. Amazon's profits have fallen as its continued spending on new areas outside its core business of ecommerce have eaten into the company's already thin profit margins.
While some of Amazon's new ventures have already proven fruitful — the company said its Fire TV stick is its fastest-selling device ever — the Fire Phone proved a flop. Amazon took a $170 million write-down on the smartphone. Drone delivery, another lofty effort, has been troubled by regulatory issues.
Wall Street has not taken kindly to Amazon's profitless ways. Its stock is down 23% in 2014. The feeling is mutual for CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently said at a Business Insider conference that he spends only six hours a year on investor relations.
Note: Yes, we know that Boxing Day doesn't have anything to do with the sport of boxing.
Tags: AMAZON, AMAZON FIRE TV, AMAZON PRIME, BUSINESS, FIRE TV STICK