This data shows the real reason Amazon bought Whole Foods

It’s all about Amazon Prime memberships. If you read my feature interview with Jeff Bezos from earlier this year, then you already know that Prime subscriptions are the “flywheel” of Amazon’s success. Any product or service that helps lure new members, or stoke renewals, is a win for the world’s largest online retailer—and from that perspective, acquiring Whole Foods is a perfect Prime play.

About 62% of Whole Foods shoppers are already Prime members, according to a survey from Morgan Stanley revealed today in the Wall Street Journal. What’s more, an analysis by Quartz found that “one-third of American households with annual incomes over $100,000 live within 3 miles of a Whole Foods.”

That means the 440 stores that Whole Foods already operates put Amazon square into key zip codes where they were, in all likelihood, already planning to expand the brick-and-mortar experiments such as the Bookstore, drive-through grocery, and Amazon Go convenience stores. 

What’s happens next? Expect to see the number of Whole Foods stores increase, along with more of those smaller format 365 stores (there are four now and 22 in the pipeline), augmented by several technological improvements that only Amazon can provide.

[Photo: Amazon]