• Amazon will begin selling the Echo Dot Kids Edition in May 2018—a smaller device with a protective case, two-year warranty, and a year of the FreeTime Unlimited Family Plan, including child-oriented audiobooks, voice apps and music. Alexa was already a kids’ favorite, and now Amazon is giving families a reason to purchase and get hooked on more Amazon services. Plus, it’ll teach their kids to say “please.”
  • Amazon raised its annual Prime membership fee by 20% to $119. The price jump—the second in 13 years of operation—will affect more than 100 million current subscribers, as well as newcomers. It also comes after the company announced its Q1 revenue—up 43%—and its profits, which more than doubled to $1.6 billion. Raising the cost of membership for consumers who are growing increasingly dependent on Amazon’s increasing body of services will continue to raise these numbers, particularly because Prime members reportedly spend much more than non-members on the site.
  • Amazon’s AWS and advertising businesses are growing the company’s retail business. Between Q4 2017 and Q1 2017, YOY revenue from the company’s “other” category (mostly comprised of advertising), skyrocketed 132%—AWS revenues increased a healthy 49%. Immense profits from these categories allow Amazon to maintain a less lucrative retail arm.
  • Amazon will stream Thursday Night Football for the next two seasons on Twitch and through Prime—the second time that the company has trumped Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the highly coveted sports material. While other companies are leaning into sports as the sports live streaming market grows, only Amazon offers the content as part of its Prime package. Additionally, Amazon more than doubled its credit line from $3 billion to $7 billion, which it will use to produce original content for Amazon Video, build data centers and enhance its international presence.
  • Chico’s will begin selling its core apparel collections on Amazon in May 2018, and might include its other brands—White House Black Market and Soma—on the site if all goes well. For Chico’s, the opportunity is a welcome one that may rejigger its falling net sales (down 7.8% in 2017) and same-store sales (down 7.7%), capturing new shoppers who will reap the benefits of Amazon shipping. At the same time, Chico’s could also bring Amazon more traffic from hard-to-reach older demographics.
  • Amazon is attempting to win over its HQ2 finalists by atoning for its Seattle sins. Wherever HQ2 ends up, it will bring rapid change to the city—in Seattle, many residents have lambasted the company for ushering in this change without thinking about its effects on community life. But while visiting potential sites, Amazon representatives asked local officials what the company could do to prevent incurring the same reputation there that it has at home.
  • Some private equity firms are interested in consolidating top sellers on Amazon’s platform. These sellers comprised about 50% of Amazon’s online sales in 2017. But particularly as Amazon expands its private-label brands, consolidation might not be enough to win third-party retailers better seller terms.