The most important number behind Amazon’s growth has long been kept secret.
Revenue from subscriptions – mostly Amazon Prime memberships – increased 59 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2016, Amazon said last week.
That’s the biggest year-over-year increase since Amazon started reporting subscription fees in its 2016 annual report, which came only after pressure for more transparency from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Amazon still refuses to say how many Prime members it has.
Amazon argued analysis of its Prime customer numbers was not “meaningful or practical,” but eventually relented, lumping Prime in with subscription revenue for audiobooks, e-books, video and music.
Amazon attributed its unexpectedly strong third-quarter earnings partly to record free trial sign-ups for Prime Day, the 30-hour July sale for Amazon Prime members that grew 60 percent over last year. The top seller was Amazon’s Echo Dot, which lets Prime customers order products and plays music by voice.