Amazon’s Prime subscription service is now used by a third of UK adults, exclusive research for Retail Week has revealed.

Approximately 19 million people – or 30% of adults – use Amazon Prime, the study by ICM showed.

The scale of Prime is illustrated by comparison with Marks & Spencer, which has a total of 32 million customers.

The subscription model pioneered by Prime is transforming retail as customers tend to buy more.

It has previously been estimated that Prime members spend about twice as much as non-members.

Amazon Prime – to which a subscription costs £79 per year – originally launched in 2007 and provides a host of products and services ranging from film streaming and food to one-hour delivery.

Rapid fulfilment

ICM research executive Madeleine Stancer said the inclusion of services such as film as well as product was core to the appeal of Prime, along with the convenience it offers time-pressed customers through rapid fulfilment.

Amazon does not disclose Prime membership, but a spokesperson told Retail Week that “there are millions of Prime members in the UK”.

A year ago Amazon Fresh was launched through the service and in the US customers will soon be able to try on clothing before buying through its Prime Wardrobe.

The ICM poll for Retail Week also found that 40% of adults had purchased from Amazon over the course of a week and 10% had done so the previous day.

The latter figure may, however, have been flattered by the timing of the survey, which was conducted over a weekend.

However, despite their enthusiasm for Amazon, 60% of those surveyed believe that the growth of online retail is having a negative effect on their local high street.

Methodology

The ICM poll surveyed 2,027 adults about using Amazon.

It asked three questions:

  • Are you, or is someone else in your household, a member of Amazon Prime?
  • When was the last time you bought something from Amazon?
  • Do you think that the growth of online retail generally is having a positive or negative effect on your local high street?