Mobile Ecosystem

700 million mobile users: Why Amazon is so unbelievably successful

John Koetsier

Chart: Amazon mobile customers versus all other retailers

Amazon is incredibly successful.

The company boosted its stock price by $123 billion from June 2015 to 2016, is now up over $1,000/share with a valuation approaching $500 billion, sells more clothing to millennials than any other retailer, and recently hit a $14 billion annual run rate in its cloud business.

Which, by the way, is growing at about 50% annually.

That’s impressive.

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What’s even more impressive is how the technology giant is accomplishing these feats.

To win, not only does Amazon follow the maxim of “meet your customers where they are,” — which often means mobile — but the retail giant makes it seamless. In addition, Amazon adapts to changing market realities quickly, which some brands such as Aeropostale have failed to do consistently.

And when customers want to do business on mobile, Amazon is there, with more than 700 million mobile customers.

Here are just some of Amazon’s iOS apps, for instance, with user counts. (Thanks to data from MightySignal last year, when we collected data for our Unicorn Dinosaurs project.) The numbers have certainly increased since then.

Kindle Books 216,242,118
Amazon App Shopping 91,558,314
Amazon Music with Prime Music Music 52,798,860
Amazon Local Lifestyle 33,867,063
Amazon Video Entertainment 23,480,064
Amazon Photos Photo & Video 4,076,874
Amazon Fire TV Remote Utilities 2,638,521
Amazon Windowshop Lifestyle 2,209,077
MYHABIT Designer Brands Shopping 1,557,801
Price Check by Amazon Lifestyle 1,525,806
Amazon Alexa Music 632,790
Amazon Drive Productivity 615,015
Amazon Prime Now Shopping 560,268
Amazon Register Business 103,095
AWS Console Business 79,632
Amazon Student Lifestyle 62,568
Amazon WorkSpaces Business 34,839

When you have more than 700 million mobile users, you have massive retail scale and leverage. Perhaps more importantly, you have direct relationships with all your customers.

Mobile enables not only an intimate, one-to-one brand-to-consumer relationship. It also creates the ability to change strategies more quickly due to more accessible first-party real-time data and analytics on what’s working and what is not working, what is hot and what is passé.

Both are particularly important in the fast-paced world of retail.

Of course, Amazon does many things right, especially technology, and its success is built on culture, strategy, service, and other essential components. But crushing all competitors on mobile with 4.4X more mobile customers than all of them combined sure helps too.

Get the full picture of Amazon’s dominance in our free Unicorn Dinosaurs report.

John Koetsier

Before acting as a mobile economist for TUNE, John built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, he led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, he was named to Folio's top 100 of the media industry's "most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers." John lives in British Columbia, Canada with his family, where he coaches baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.

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