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Amazon likes to talk up the many benefits of subscribing to its Amazon Prime program. Along with free 2-day shipping on many Amazon purchases, Prime members enjoy free access to a selection of streaming movies, TV shows, and music, as well as monthly eBook rentals. And in many ways, Amazon has promoted these perks more than the free shipping itself, pushing the content as a major selling point for the service.
But are these perks really the reason that people are subscribing to Prime? Last week, DealNews asked more than 1,600 Amazon Prime subscribers whether they took advantage of these perks, and if they paid for similar services elsewhere. As it turns out, free content is appreciated, but nowhere near as dominant a draw as the original purpose to Prime: free shipping.
Check out the results below, and be sure to read our guide on how to get an extra month of Prime for free.
Unsurprisingly, 100% of Prime subscribers surveyed said they use Prime shipping. What's more, 75% of members said they didn't subscribe to another shipping service, such as ShopRunner. Of the 25% that said they did use another company, Prime was still their preferred shipping service. However, free shipping would prove to be the only major Prime service that subscribers preferred.
While 81% of Prime subscribers said they used Instant Video to stream movies and TV shows, a whopping 79% said they use another paid video streaming service more often. Amazon may be setting its sights on Netflix and its 31 Emmy nominations by producing original content, but Netflix is still the preferred video streamer for 52% of Amazon's Prime members.
Only 31% of the Prime subscribers we polled said they'd used Prime Music, Amazon's nascent streamer that looks to compete with the likes of Pandora and Spotify. That said, only 30% of respondents admitted to paying for any music streaming service. This suggests that Prime members would rather listen to free, ad-supported music streams with larger catalogs.
Amazon seems to have a mild edge over eBook rental services such as Oyster or Scribd: while a mere 31% of members reported use of the Kindle Lending Library, only 2% said they have a paid subscription to an eBook rental program elsewhere.
One of the most surprising findings from the poll is that 88% of Amazon Prime subscribers say they're spending more money at Amazon since signing up for Prime. Furthermore, 73% are fine with this because they believe that they're "saving more money in the long run." Only 15% believe they're spending more and saving less, and another 11% say they aren't spending more.
The 15% of Prime subscribers who say they're spending more money at Amazon's site, but aren't saving more in the long run, might seem like a paradox. Why don't they just quit the program? "Once folks sign up for Prime, every shopping decision begins at Amazon.com," DailyFinance explained, noting that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has described Prime as a bucket that doesn't leak. "Without giving numbers, Bezos made it clear that once folks try Prime, they don't cancel." While the article suggests that Amazon's digital offerings have a lot to do with subscriber retention, our poll data shows that it's all about the shipping.
See the graphic below for the full results of our poll.
Readers, are you surprised that Prime's non-shipping benefits aren't as dominant? Do you subscribe to multiple services for shipping and streaming? Share your opinions in the comments below!