Survey: Free Shipping Trumps Video in Amazon Prime

The benefit of two-day free shipping on Amazon is apparently a bigger driver of Amazon Prime subscriptions in the U.S. than the unlimited streaming of TV shows and movies that comes along with the subscription.

That's according to a just-release study from Strategy Analytics, which found that 55% of U.S. respondents who had Amazon Prime said free shipping was "very important" to why they subscribed, while 46% said Instant Video was very important.

The study -- conducted online among users ages 18-74 in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France in November and December 2014 -- also found that of those who have subscribed to Amazon Prime, more said they used Netflix (63%) in the previous month than said they used Prime Instant Video (59%), though that difference is within the margin of error.

"“In contrast to countries such as the U.K. and Germany, Americans are more likely to subscribe to Amazon Prime for free two-day shipping than for Prime Instant Video,” Leika Kawasaki, Strategy Analytics’ digital media analyst, said in describing the findings. “Americans are twice as likely as Britons to cite free two-day shipping as ‘very important’ in deciding to subscribe, and they’re less likely to use the video service regularly.”

Kawasaki said Amazon might be able to boost its video audience by driving more adoption of its Kindle and Fire TV devices, since owners of those are 10% more likely to use Prime Instant Video "regularly."

Strategy Analytics clients include Sony, Samsung, Microsoft (Xbox), Viacom (MTV), Verizon, Comcast, Facebook, Intel and Adobe.

The study was conducted by Consumer Metrix and was funded internally rather than sponsored by any of those clients, according to Michael Goodman, Strategy Analytics's director of digital media strategies, who also provided the client list.

Almost 5,000 responses were received, with a study margin of error at plus-or-minus five percentage points.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.