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India fastest-growing market in first year for Amazon: Jeff Bezos

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MUMBAI: Amazon’s unstoppable march continues worldwide, including India. Putting an end to the speculation around the number of Amazon Prime subscribers, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has finally revealed the data in a letter to shareholders. The e-commerce giant has crossed 100 million subscribers for its Prime service globally. In the letter, Bezos specifically talks about its India feat to shareholders: “Prime added more members in India in its first year than any previous geography in Amazon’s history.”

The letter includes an entire mention to India, not given to any other country, including the US. He said, “Amazon.in is the fastest-growing marketplace in India and the most visited site on both desktop and mobile, according to comScore and SimilarWeb. The Amazon.in mobile shopping app was also the most downloaded shopping app in India in 2017, according to App Annie.”

He went on to state that Prime selection in India now included more than 40 million local products from third-party sellers and that Prime Video was investing in India original video content in a big way, including two recent premiers and more than a dozen new shows in production.

For the first time, after 13 long years of the service’s launch, the company has shared such a figure publicly. The reason could also be to counter Netflix’s revelation earlier in the week when it said that its subscriber numbers were up from 117.6 million a year ago to 125 million globally. Bezos started off the letter by congratulating its people for making Amazon rank first on the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the eighth year in a row.

In the letter, Bezos said that Prime Video continued to drive Prime member adoption and retention, countering analysts who said that Prime Video acts as a catalyst to boost its e-commerce business.

Since its entry in the Indian market, it has left Netflix behind in the race, its prime competitor in the international market. To strengthen its foothold in the Indian market, it launched original shows for Indian audiences last year. It recently announced a new Prime Original reality show Hear Me. Love Me. It also announced the second season of Inside Edge after the show created a stir after its first season.

Bezos lauded his customers in his letter. He said, “One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static–they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’. I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before. It may be because customers have such easy access to more information than ever before.”

He went on to state that the only way to stay ahead of rising customer expectation is by giving them high standards. He didn’t shy away from admitting that Amazon had seen ‘billions of dollars worth of failures’ on its way to meet this target.

Amazon Music is also doing well globally. “Amazon Music continues to grow fast and now has tens of millions of paid customers. Amazon Music Unlimited, our on-demand, ad-free offering, expanded to more than 30 new countries in 2017, and membership has more than doubled over the past six months,” the letter read.

Moreover, Amazon has managed to reduce the amount of time required to teach Alexa new languages using machine translation and transfer learning techniques that has helped it to serve countries such as India and Japan.

In India, other than competing with local and global OTT players, it is also fighting its domestic e-commerce rival Flipkart. According to a Mint report, Amazon India nearly doubled its authorised capital to Rs 31,000 crore ($4.74 billion) last year. As India is a large market, the company is trying to explore every opportunity to woo more subscribers with better infrastructure and technology.

“We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we recognise this to be no small or easy challenge. We know there is much we can do better, and we find tremendous energy in the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Bezos said concluding the letter.

Also Read :

Amazon India to launch 10 originals in 2018

Amazon Prime Music ties up with Saregama

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