Amazon Prime memberships in Canada grew 80%

Amazon Prime memberships in Canada grew 80%

TORONTO — Amazon says sign-ups for its Amazon Prime membership program grew 80 per cent in Canada in 2016.

The world’s largest online retailer wouldn’t disclose the total number of Canadian Prime members, but it says the year-over-year gain makes Canada one of the countries with the fastest growth rates.

The success of the program, designed to increase its market share and strengthen customer loyalty, is being closely watched by Canadian competitors.

The program, which charges an annual membership fee of $79 plus taxes, was launched in Canada in 2013. It offers members free delivery – including same-day service in some markets – as well as access to Amazon’s video streaming service, digital video games, unlimited photo storage and other benefits.

The company says it has tens of millions of Prime members worldwide.

“We’ve been very pleased with the way (Canadian) customers have been responding,” Greg Greeley, vice-president of Amazon Prime Worldwide, said in an interview from Seattle.

Amazon said Thursday that it will be holding its third annual Prime Day — its biggest sales day of the year — on July 11 in more than a dozen countries including Canada.

The promotions will begin earlier than usual this year, at 9 p.m. ET on July 10. Greeley says prices for sales items will be the lowest they’ve been all year and include more selection and quantities than previous years.

Earlier this week, an analysis by BMO Capital Markets said that Amazon is by far Canada’s largest e-commerce retailer.

It estimated that the company had just over $3.5 billion in Canadian e-commerce sales in 2016, compared to $2 billion in 2014. The company declined to confirm the sales figures.

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