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Amazon Prime membership will increase by $20 in May

27 April 2018, 12:07 | Lucy Hill

Amazon's Fiscal Discipline Pays Off as It More Than Doubles Profit

Amazon to raise Prime membership in US to $119 from $99

"We continue to increase the value of Prime", Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during the announcement of the price hike.

It's the first time in four years Amazon has increased the price of Prime, a service that comes with benefits including expedited shipping and access to video and music streaming.

Amazon executives said Thursday that the 20 percent increase is due to higher costs to maintain the program, such as shipping fees.

While Amazon's year-on-year losses continued to grow on its worldwide business in the first quarter of 2018, mainly driven by India, it was significantly lower than the peak of over $900 million in global losses that the company saw in the previous quarter and the clip was also much slower compared to the year-on-year jump in losses in Q1 of 2017.

Though the annual cost remained steady over the past few years, Amazon did increase the monthly cost from $10.99/month to $12.99/month earlier this year. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.58 percent from 4.47 percent last week.

Amazon finance chief Brial Olsavsky revealed the plan during an earnings call with analysts Thursday night. Analysts were expecting 85 cents per share on revenue of $25.8 billion.

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As services expanded, so too are the costs - prompting the price hike. The latter posted a 49% rise in sales compared to a year ago, to $5.44 billion. For this reason among others, Amazon is bumping the price of its popular annual Prime membership.

The world's largest online retailer said net income rose to US$1.6 billion, or US$3.27 per share, in the three months ended March, compared with US$724 million a year earlier. In the previous quarter, which included the busy holiday shopping season, it had a profit of more than $1.8 billion.

The Seattle-based firm spotlighted the juggernaut growth of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division, which hosts services and content that companies in the internet cloud.

AWS accounted for 73 per cent of Amazon's operating income during the quarter - $1.4bn out of $1.9bn, which is up from $1bn in Q1 2017.

Amazon Prime Video has been available on Apple TV since December 2017.

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