It’s All About Free Shipping

New TDG Research Leaves No Doubt That Entertainment
Plays Second Fiddle for Amazon Prime Subscribers

July 25, 2018 (Plano, TX)– According to new research by The Diffusion Group (TDG), 79% of Amazon Prime users cite free shipping as the primary reason they subscribe to the service. Only 11% cite Prime Video, with a collective 10% citing Prime Music, Photos, Reading, Twitch, or other benefits.
More than half of US adult broadband users currently subscribe to Amazon Prime. When asked which of the many benefits of Prime drives their loyalty to the service, eight in ten chose free shipping of retail purchases.

“While Amazon Prime is building robust audiences in video, music, and gaming,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG President and Director of Research, “Prime is first and foremost about developing more and broader retail relationships, and free shipping is key to that mission. That is where the real value of Prime lies.”

Adding high-quality digital media to Prime has certainly sweetened the deal and brought many new subscribers into the mix. Once they begin to buy more merchandise, however, service value appears to shift from media to free shipping. “This is not to diminish the value that digital media services add to the Prime equation,” notes Greeson, “but it puts it into perspective relative to retail.”

Greeson also points out that the retail benefits of Amazon Prime serves to differentiate it from media-only competitors like Netflix and Hulu (video); Spotify and Apple (music); and Mixer, Owler, and Caffeine (gaming).

“The competitive threat that Amazon poses to the media industry is unique,” argues Greeson. “Video, music, and gaming services are largely loss leaders to Amazon’s cash-cow retail business. This strategy continues to enable the company to disrupt not only established media verticals but a widening array of other goods and services.”

TDG recently released its ninth annual Benchmarking the Connected Consumer study, which evaluates the diffusion and in-home placement of a wide variety of connected devices, including smart speakers, and the use of various media services including subscription TV, video, and music services.

For more information about this research, please contact us at, or call 469-287-8060.

Wendy Stockard

About TDG Research

TDG provides actionable intelligence on the quantum shifts impacting consumer technology and media behavior. Since 2004, we’ve helped incumbent and emerging technology vendors, media companies, and service providers master the digital transformation and meet the needs of viewers in real time — whenever and wherever they may be.

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