Amazon could double Whole Foods’ customer base with Prime

Amazon could end up doubling Whole Foods’ customer base through new Prime incentives, tech analyst Mark Mahaney told CNBC on Monday.

The e-commerce giant announced Monday that Prime members will have access to special savings in Whole Foods’ locations nationwide, starting Wednesday. Savings include an additional 10 percent off Whole Foods products that are already discounted, as well as deep discounts on some of its most popular items.

Amazon closed its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in August 2017.

“If Amazon has 60 [million] to 70 million Prime customers in the U.S., there are probably about 20 [million] to 30 million that live near a Whole Foods that don’t regularly shop there,” RBC Capital Markets’ lead internet analyst said in a “Squawk on the Street” interview.

Amazon “could double, theoretically, Whole Foods overall customer base over a 5 to 10 year period just by giving financial incentives to Prime customers,” added Mahaney. “That’s the synergy that they are now pulling from this deal.”

Amazon Prime grants several perks for its users, including faster shipping and access to streaming video.

It’s too early to tell how well the new Prime incentives will do for Whole Foods, but the strategy “makes a lot of sense” for Amazon, said Mahaney. “You bring those two programs together, Whole Foods and Prime, those are two very powerful complimentary offerings.”

Mahaney has an outperform rating on Amazon and a price target of $1,900 per share based on RBC’s 2019 estimates. A move to $1,900, from Friday’s close of $1,715, would represent an increase of 10 percent.

Shares of Amazon were under pressure early Monday in an overall market decline that was disproportionately hitting tech names. But over the 12 months, Amazon has surged 67 percent for a stock market value of over $800 billion.

— CNBC’s Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report.

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