March 7 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc said on Wednesday it was expanding its discounted Prime membership offer to Medicaid members, the U.S. government's health insurance program for the poor.
The move from the e-commerce giant comes nine months after it said it would offer a discount on its popular Prime subscription service for shoppers who receive U.S. government aid.
7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon:
7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees
Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and
40,000 in Seattle alone.
As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly
528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.
For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.
Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales
Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.
analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.
That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.
1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.
Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately
63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.
That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.
Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day
Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.
report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.
As of 2015, Amazon
estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.
That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia
back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.
The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.
Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.
45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses
To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.
The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company
increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.
Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined
The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far
the most valuable retailer in the United States.
Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.
recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.
To qualify for the discounted $5.99 monthly Prime membership, customers must have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer or Medicaid card and can renew it annually for up to four years, the company said.
The $12.99-per month or $99-per-year prime service offers users added perks like low prices and faster delivery for certain purchases and shipped over 5 billion items worldwide last year.
Any push by Amazon into poorer demographics comes at a time when traditional brick-and-mortar suppliers like Walmart Inc have been fighting the online shopping giant's arrival by seeking to attract more high-spending shoppers.
The Medicaid connection may also stir more nerves among healthcare companies worried about tentative moves by Amazon to sell and distribute some medical supplies and drugs.
(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)