Amazon has revealed that it added more than one million new Amazon Prime members in the third week of December alone as shoppers pushed to finish their Christmas shopping ahead of the big day yesterday.

The growth in the service, which gives members free two-day shipping on a wide selection of items, led to Amazon’s busiest ever Prime shipping day.

While that third-week growth of Prime might sound impressive, it could have potentially been even larger – Amazon said it had to limit new Prime signups during peak periods to ensure existing members were not affected by the surge.

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said the new members joined the “tens of millions” of Prime members that the company boasts overall. However, it’s worth noting that Amazon offers a free 30-day trial of the service, which users can cancel at any time to avoid paying beyond the free trial, so it’s likely that at least some of those 1 million new members intend to cancel now that Christmas is over. In the US it costs $79 per year and in the UK it costs £49 per year.

In total, Amazon said it shipped enough items using its Prime service this holiday to deliver at least one gift to every household in America.

Amazon said that the holiday period overall had been its most successful ever, and that on Cyber Monday 426 items were ordered every second, making a total of 36.8 million orders. More than half of all customers carried out their shopping from a mobile during the festive period too, the company added.

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