Amazon Prime Subscribers Still Prefer Netflix

Netflix Ratings Final - P 2014
Illustration by: Tang Yau Hoong

Netflix Ratings Final - P 2014

Consumers in the United States are more likely to subscribe to Amazon Prime for free two-day shipping than streaming video, according to Strategy Analytics.

Amazon might have won a Golden Globe for Transparent, but consumers still see Netflix as the go-to place for streaming video, according to new research. 

A study from intelligence firm Strategy Analytics found that 63 percent of Amazon Prime subscribers used Netflix in the previous month. Meanwhile, 59 percent of subscribers used Prime Instant Video in that same month. 

Use of Prime Instant Video was lower in the United States than in other countries. Only 44 percent of American Prime subscribers use it at least once a week, compared to 54 percent of subscribers in the U.K. and 55 percent of subscribers in Germany. Netflix has been in the U.K. since 2012 and Germany since 2014, while Amazon Prime has had a presence in the U.K. and Germany through now-defunct subsidiary LoveFilm since 2011. 

Strategy Analytics polled nearly 5,000 people in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France late last year. It's findings revealed that Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping was a bigger incentive for people to join the service than its streaming video options. 

Americans are twice as likely as Brits to cite Prime's shipping benefits as "very important" in their decision to subscribe to the $99 per year service, said Strategy Analytics digital media analyst Leika Kawasaki. While shipping drives subscriptions in the U.S., streaming is the primary incentive in Germany and the U.K. 


"Amazon is needlessly 'losing' users to Netflix when, in fact, it should be eating into their user base," said Kawasaki. "Amazon Prime offers subscribers multiple benefits, there are more Amazon-capable devices and the subscription is slightly cheaper. Yes, Prime Instant Video has been lagging behind Netflix in original programming, but it's been making significant moves to address this recently."

Netflix — which starts at $7.99 a month (the equivalent of over $95 a year) — has positioned itself as a must-have subscription in many households through original programming such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Amazon, too, jumped into the original content game in 2013 with the launch of its pilot program, which has resulted in shows such as Jill Soloway's Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle.

Strategy Analytics found that of U.S. adults not currently subscribing to Amazon Prime, 12 percent are "somewhat likely" to subscribe within the next year. Those who said they won't subscribe cited the price point as their main reason.