Amazon Sees Surging Prime Memberships in ‘Biggest’ Ever Holiday Season

Amazon is calling this holiday season its “biggest” ever, due in part to soaring Prime membership rates.

The e-tailer said that more than 4 million people sampled or purchased Prime memberships in a one-week period, which brought membership to a new high. Items shipped with free one-day or same-day shipping — two perks of a Prime membership — doubled this year, according to Amazon.

The Echo Dot was the e-commerce giant’s best-selling item across all categories, and the e-tailer said millions more of its devices were purchased this year than last year.

Shopping on Amazon’s mobile app also saw 70 percent growth, representing increasing consumer familiarity with shopping from mobile devices.

Amazon’s record-breaking holiday season signals mounting trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers already struggling in the face competition with the e-commerce giant.

Although companies like Walmart and Kohl’s are expanding online offerings to woo mobile customers, Amazon continues to lead the pack in online sales. This holiday season, the company expected to account for more than half of all online shopping sales — a sign that the e-tailer remains a top choice among consumers.

While Amazon is a major business, the company said more than half of its online sales are generated through small businesses, much of this via Fulfillment by Amazon. The service grants consumers free two-day shipping by having small businesses pre-ship items to Amazon fulfillment centers. Companies continue to handle their own packaging, shipping and customer service. More than 2 billion items sold this way globally last year, according to Amazon, and 140 million items were sold this way from just Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

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