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Walmart+ will surpass 29 million members this year

The forecast: Walmart+ membership will grow 10.4% this year to over 29 million users (and nearly 15 million households), per our forecast.

  • That growth will stem from Walmart’s multipronged efforts to add subscribers, most recently by offering half-price membership to consumers on government assistance. (The discount mirrors the Prime membership discount that Amazon has offered consumers on government assistance since 2017.)
  • Walmart’s other initiatives include offering a three-month free trial to YouTube Premium subscribers, a discounted monthly rate ($10/month) to Verizon customers, and free membership for holders of certain credit cards such as American Express' Platinum card.

While Walmart+ is growing quickly—we expect roughly 12.5% of households with internet access will have a membership by year end—it is a far cry from the nearly 94 million households that will belong to Prime.

Getting attention: One challenge for any fledgling service, including Walmart+, is building brand awareness.

  • That was evident earlier this month when Walmart countered Amazon’s Prime Day sale with its own Walmart+ Week event.
  • While all consumers could access Walmart+ Week deals, only Prime members could access Amazon’s discounts. Despite that notable difference, 40% of consumers made purchases on Amazon during Prime Day, compared with 20% who did so during Walmart+ Week, per a PYMNTS survey. That suggests Walmart wasn’t able to build buzz that its event was open to the general public as only 6% of non-Walmart+ subscribers made a purchase on the retailer’s website or app during Walmart+ Week.
  • Another striking finding is that Prime Day participation grew, while Walmart+ participation was flat. Fifty-nine percent of Prime subscribers bought from Amazon during Prime Day, up from 56% last year, while 53% of Walmart+ subscribers made purchases from the retail giant, the same share as last year, per PYMNTS.
  • There was one bright spot (and opportunity for Walmart): Walmart+ Week shoppers spent almost twice as much as Amazon Prime subscribers. That’s largely due to the types of items people bought as over half of Walmart+ shoppers bought groceries during the event—about two times more than the share of Prime shoppers who did so.

The big takeaway: Walmart is still in its “beginning stages” of building out Walmart+, said CFO John Rainey during the Evercore ISI Consumer & Retail Conference in June.

  • While it continues to add perks such as a rewards scheme and discounts on gas to help compete with Prime, it is already reaping the benefits from the program. Rainey noted that the customer lifetime value of Walmart+ members is “appreciably higher” than other consumers because they spend and shop more frequently.
  • Amazon grew Prime membership by making its value proposition seem like a no-brainer. If Walmart can find similar ways to deliver clear benefits for the large share of its customer base that shops in its stores, it could unlock a major revenue stream.

Go further: Read our “Retail Memberships Forecast 2023” report.

First Published on Jul 24, 2023