Amazon’s annual report is out today, and tucked away in the lengthy document are some details about the company’s achievements over the past year. Amazon has a habit of being very selective with the details it provides, so we still don’t know how many Kindle eReaders or Kindle Fire tablets were sold in the past 12 months, or how many people ordered Fire TV devices.
But Amazon is touting some successes. For instance, a million people joined the Amazon prime program in the third week of December, bringing the total number of susbcribers into the “tens of millions.” And the Amazon Appstore is now available to customers in more than 200 countries and features over 200,000 apps.
Of course, that’s still less than one fifth the number of apps available in the Google Play Store. But many of the top Android apps are available to folks using Kindle Fire tablets… or anyone who’s installed the Amazon Appstore on a non-Amazon phone or tablet (presumably in an effort to snag some of free apps Amazon promotes every day).
You can find some numbers in the report. For instance. Amazon’s net sales in 2013 came to nearly $74.5 billion, up from about $61 billion in 2012. Since Amazon sells products with razer-thin profit margins though, the company’s revenues are much, much lower — just about $20 million in 2013 and $15 million the year before.
Nevertheless, CEO Jeff Bezos is constantly pushing investment in new products and services to continue to grow the business. His focus is on long-term success rather than short-term profits, and that’s why we’re seeing Amazon take steps into delivery-by-drone with Prime Air (the company’s already working on 7th and 8th generation test units), 24/7 tech support with MayDay for Kindle Fire HDX users, and even delivery of groceries with Amazon Prime Fresh in select markets.
Me too, Prime was a waste of cash, I bought it to avoid having to buy over a certain amount (£10) to get free postage, this did not happen. Oh, I can get Prime items posted free but coincidentally most of those are already over £10. The film service was a complete let down too, no variety and no big films.
You know what they say about statistics. In the case of Prime, it’s only a “premium” service in the US. For example, I’m a subscriber in Spain but here it costs only 15€ ($20) per year, and it only gives you free 2-day shipping (it actually takes 3 or 4 days). And I guess many of the “tens of millions” are customers in a similar situation in Europe or Canada or wherever. AFAIK the streaming video and other services are only available in the US (not sure about the Kindle Lending Library but very few people seem to use it).
As for the Kindle devices, it’s not just the lack of sales numbers, but the fact that they no longer claim “record” sales or year-on-year growth. Which they used to do until 2012 or so.
Regarding their app store, I’ve never seen any stat or metric that actually indicates usage/adoption. How many downloads are they seeing? How much revenue? Does anybody outside Kindle Fire users actually use it? Remember that this store has been around for two years and a half now.
Every time I go surfing for an app on Amazon I’m bombarded with cartoony looking junk apps and games for infants.
Come June, Amazon will have at least one less Prime member.
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