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Amazon has its best ever Christmas and tops 20m Prime members

Online retailer Amazon has enjoyed its “best ever” holiday season, according to a statement from CEO Jeff Bezos. The company now has “tens of millions” of Amazon Prime members, signalling that it has attracted at least 20 million users for its $79/year loyalty program.

Exact figures haven’t been released by the online retailer — you’ll need to wait until the fourth-quarter earnings report for those — but there are some nuggets of information to be had in the statement released by Amazon. The company received 36.8 million orders on Cyber Monday alone, for example.

The Amazon Prime announcement is significant because it’s the first time that the company has even hinted at how many subscribers it has. An estimate by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners back in September put the figure at somewhere around 16 million, so it would seem that there are have been a substantial number of new sign ups over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Amazon did confirm than more than one million people signed up for Prime in the third week of December.

“Prime was so popular this holiday, that Amazon limited new Prime membership sign ups during peak periods to ensure service to current members was not impacted by the surge in new membership,” explained Amazon in a press release. That free Super Saver Shipping for non-Prime members was raised from $25 to $35 in the fall may have played a key part in the extra subscriptions.

In total Amazon shipped Christmas gifts to 185 countries. Among the best sellers were Kindle tablets, Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer, and Samsung Smart LED televisions. The last Prime One-Day Shipping order to be delivered in time for Christmas was processed on December 23 at 10.22pm and sent to California (and it was a Beautyrest Cotton Top Mattress Pad, if you were wondering).

Not everything ran smoothly for Amazon and its customers though. Overwhelming demand for items meant that UPS and FedEx struggled to deliver everything on time, with Amazon offering gift cards as compensation to those affected.

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