What You Need to Know About Amazon Prime: 2005-Today

George Hatch

August 20, 2020

Amazon Prime has been around for a while now—15 years to be exact. The subscription service has continued to evolve over the last decade and a half, continually setting the standard for ecommerce subscriptions and delivery.

“Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year. And customers are responding—more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO in the company’s 2019 Q4 earnings report.

“We’ve made Prime delivery faster—the number of items delivered to U.S. customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled this quarter compared to last year. Members now have free two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 2,000 U.S. cities and towns. Prime members watched double the hours of original movies and TV shows on Prime Video this quarter compared to last year, and Amazon Originals received a record 88 nominations and 26 wins at major awards shows,” Bezos continued.

So what exactly has it taken to get Amazon to the growth and dominance it has today? Let’s take a look back to the launch of Amazon Prime and look at the ever-evolving benefits Amazon has added over the years to grow this program to over 150 million subscribers worldwide.

A timeline of Amazon Prime

February 2005

Amazon launched their Prime subscription in February of 2005 at the initial price point of $79 a year, offering unlimited 2-day delivery on over 1 million in-stock items (or as they announced it “all-you-can-eat express shipping”).

This screenshot shows Jeff Bezos initial announcement letter to the public.

Amazon Prime 2005 Timeline | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

This was the beginning of what is now one of, if not the largest subscription programs in the world. Amazon continues to add benefits to its Prime offering, and here are some of the key ones that stood out to me over the years.

2006

Amazon launched Fulfilled by Amazon. This service allows sellers to have an Amazon store and ship their products for a fee. These products then become eligible for Amazon Prime, thus growing available assortment and selection for customers.

Amazon Prime 2006 Timeline, FBA | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2011

Amazon included Prime Video in Prime subscription. Amazon first introduced an internet video service in 2006 (Amazon Unbox) but added the perk of free access to “unlimited, commercial-free instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows” to paying Prime members in February of 2011.

Amazon Prime 2011 Timeline, Prime Video | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2014

This was a big year for Amazon Prime. First, Amazon raised the price of Prime from $79 to $99. That same year, Amazon also launched Prime Pantry. Amazon Pantry offers Prime members a different way to shop, allowing them to purchase daily essentials in everyday sizes and have items delivered for a low, flat-rate fee in an Amazon Pantry box.

Amazon Prime 2014 Timeline, Amazon Pantry | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Amazon also launched Amazon Music in 2014. Amazon Music gives subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service access to thousands of songs free and without interruptions from advertising.

Amazon Prime 2014 Timeline, Amazon Music | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Amazon Photos was also launched that year. Amazon Photos offers Prime members free secure unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos.

Amazon Prime 2014 Timeline, Amazon Photos | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

In 2014, Amazon announced early access to Lightning Deals for Prime Members.

Lastly, Amazon launches Amazon Now in 2014. Amazon Now is a stand alone app offering free two-hour delivery and one-hour delivery for $7.99 in select areas.

Amazon Prime 2014 Timeline, Prime Now | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2015

Amazon created Amazon Prime Day to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary. Prime Day offered Prime members exclusive deals on a wide range of products for 24 hours. The Prime Day event is so successful it becomes an annual tradition.

Amazon Prime 2015 Timeline, Amazon Prime Day | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2016

Amazon announced same day delivery expanded to 27 metro areas.

Amazon Prime 2016 Timeline, Amazon Same Day Delivery | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Amazon introduced Prime Reading. Prime Reading includes a rotating selection of more than 1,000 books and magazines that Prime members can read for free.

Amazon Prime 2016 Timeline, Prime Reading | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2017

Amazon partnered with Chase on the launch of Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. The credit card is offered exclusively to Prime members and offers 5% back at Amazon (and now Whole Foods) among other benefits.

Amazon Prime 2017 Timeline, Amazon Prime Rewards Card | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Amazon launched Prime Wardrobe. Prime wardrobe is a try before you buy service for fashion and accessories.

“Sift through hundreds of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, select up to eight items that spark your interest, and we’ll send a Prime Wardrobe box directly to your door,” the service advertises. Prime members then have 7 days to try on and select any item they want to keep before returning the rest via a prepaid shipping label and a dropoff at the closest UPS location.

Amazon Prime 2017 Timeline, Amazon Prime Wardrobe | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

That same year, Amazon launched Amazon Key. Amazon Key allows Prime members to receive Amazon packages delivered to their garage, home, or car without a key via an app. Due to COVID-19, this is only available currently for in-garage and in-gate delivery.

Amazon Prime 2017 Timeline, Amazon Key | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Then, Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and began offering exclusive Prime benefits.

Amazon Prime 2017 Timeline, Amazon Whole Foods Acquisition | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Amazon Prime 2017 Timeline, Amazon Whole Foods Acquisition | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2018

Amazon announced a price increase for Prime from $99 to $119—the current price. An Amazon Prime subscription went from $79 in 2005, increasing by $40 over the last 15 years since Amazon offered the service.

2019

Amazon expanded Prime Free One Day to members with no minimum purchase amount on more than ten million products.

Amazon offered Amazon Fresh as a free benefit of Prime. Prime members in select cities can shop for groceries, everyday essentials, and more with Amazon Fresh. Amazon Fresh is available exclusively to Amazon Prime members by invitation only.

Amazon Prime 2019 Timeline, Amazon Fresh | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Last year, Amazon also launched Amazon Day. Amazon Prime members could then order throughout the week and select FREE Amazon Day Delivery to get all their items in fewer boxes on a single day, rather than separate boxes on multiple days.

Amazon Prime 2019 Timeline, Amazon Day Delivery | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

Lastly for 2019, Amazon extended additional discounts to Amazon Prime Members on Subscribe and Save orders. Prime members could then unlock 20% savings on subscriptions on items like diapers and baby food when they received 5 or more products in one auto-delivery to one address.

Amazon Prime 2019 Timeline, Amazon Subscribe and Save Discounts | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

2020

This year, Amazon has expanded Same-Day Delivery. Prime members in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, and Dallas get faster Same-Day Delivery—from click to doorstep in just a few hours. Although the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted distribution lines at the onset of the year, Amazon has mostly recovered in the months since, at least in the eyes of customers.

Amazon has also launched Prime Gaming (formerly Twitch Prime) this year. Through this service, Amazon Prime members receive free games, exclusive in-game loot, and a free subscription on Twitch.tv.

Amazon Prime 2020 Timeline, Prime Gaming | Pattern
Screenshot from Amazon

We hope you learned some new Amazon Prime membership benefits you can take advantage of in our Amazon Prime timeline. Please feel free to reach out and let us know what features we may have missed. You can find Amazon’s comprehensive benefit list here.

If you are a consumer brand looking to grow an established Amazon presence and take advantage of some of the benefits as an Amazon Seller, get in touch with Pattern now.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)