Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items to its Prime members around the world in 2017.

Although it doesn’t disclose the exact number, Amazon said it added more new Prime members last year than ever before.

According to a press release from the Seattle giant, more than four million people started free trials or began paid Prime memberships in a single one-week period during the holiday season. It’s estimated Amazon has around 90 million paying Prime members who spend an average of $1,300 a year.

Prime, which is set to launch in Australia this year, provides members with free and fast shipping as well as access to digital content like movies, music and books.

The service is available is 16 countries with Prime launching in Mexico, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Singapore last year.

The growth led to Amazon increasing its fulfillment and shipping network by more than 30 per cent in square footage worldwide. Amazon’s busiest day of the year in its fulfillment centres was December 19, 2017.

In its marketplace business, more than one billion items were ordered from small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide over the holiday period, the company said. Over five days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday nearly 140 million items were ordered from small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Amazon Australian Update

Amazon kicked off its Australian retail and marketplace operations in the first week in December. According to SimilarWeb traffic to amazon.com.au has grown from 4.5 million visitors in October to 7.52 million in November.

By December 22, sellers had received their first 1,000 ratings. According to an analysis by Marketplace Pulse, 17 per cent of the reviews were negative, largely due to late shipping/cancelled orders.

For many Australians Amazon’s launch failed to meet their lofty expectations.

On launch day negative sentiment increased 3.3x on the previous week — from 6 per cent to 20 per cent — according to an analysis of digital content engagement conducted by Amobee.

Social mentions indicate prices and cost were the major source of disappointment – consumers were expecting lower prices compared to Aussie retailers, the report said.

However Amobee’s data showed one week after it launched, Amazon was still generating 8x more interest compared to its competitors, and 20x as many social mentions.

In terms of size, Amazon’s Australian marketplace swelled to 3,600 sellers. Of those, 46 per cent are based in China and 47 per cent are Australian, according to Marketplace Pulse.

For its part, Amazon said its orders placed on Amazon.com.au on its first day of trading were higher than any other launch day in the company’s history.

“We are thankful to Australian customers for making this a landmark day in Amazon history. From early in the day, we experienced visitor numbers that far exceeded our expectations,” said Rocco Braeuniger, Country Manager of Amazon Australia.

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