Business, Entertainment, Hardware, Software Programs

Amazon Reports Biggest Holiday Season, Ever

Yesterday, Amazon tasked someone with the awful job of creating an after-Christmas announcement (which they do every year). Obviously, this person (or people) had to work through Christmas in order to compile the vast amounts of data and make sense of it. From all of the things that Amazon sold this holiday season, one of the biggest stand-out figures was that Amazon added 1 million new Prime members in a single week (the week preceding Christmas). This would put their Prime subscribers at around 20 million users, although Amazon doesn’t share those figures until their quarterly earnings which should be due mid next month. They did, however, tell us that 36.8 million items were ordered world wide on Cyber Monday alone, which represents an absurdly mind boggling 426 items per second. This was likely assisted by their PR stunt the day before using 60 minutes to announce their ‘future’ drone package delivery, which was torn apart by anyone and everyone that knows the state of drones today. Amazon called Cyber Monday holiday weekend their best for sales of Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets, although many fail to recognize that this includes Black Friday, the weekend AND Cyber Monday which effectively makes it a 4 days weekend. More than half of Amazon’s shoppers came from mobile devices, which is sort of a skewed number when you consider that many of those ‘shoppers’ were likely buying digital content like movies, music, apps and books digitally. However, Amazon reported that more than 5 toys per second were ordered via mobile device, most likely a result of Amazon’s mobile barcode scanning capability.

They also had some really interesting figures about 2013 from a media standpoint, showing the growth that the company is also experiencing in digital media. Their digital media selection grew to more than 27 million movies, tv shows, apps, games, songs, audio books, books, magazines. They also increased their Prime Instant Video selection from 33,000 to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes. With Prime Instant Video included, Amazon’s whole Instant Video service now includes over 150,000 movies and TV episodes (paid + Prime).

Amazon’s Appstore selection worldwide also more than doubled in 2013 with more than 100,000 apps and games in the Amazon Appstore and on Kindle Fire devices. This makes their appstore a top-tier competitor against Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace and Apple’s Appstore.

In addition to their digital sales, they also had some very interesting physical sales figures. Including the fact that Amazon shipped to 185 countries this holiday, an absolutely amazing number that helps you realize Amazon’s global reach. But their reach is not only incredibly vast, it is still also very fast. The last Prime One-Day Shipping order that was delivered in time for Christmas was placed on Dec. 23 at 10:22 p.m. PST and shipped to Carlsbad, California. The item was a Beautyrest Cotton Top Mattress Pad. However, do keep in mind that many customers that did purchase things last minute via Amazon were disappointed to find out that their packages that were guaranteed for Christmas Eve delivery actually wouldn’t arrive until after Christmas. This was due to Fedex and UPS unfortunately being unprepared for the high volume of last minute packages as UPS and Fedex later admitted in a separate statements. This could potentially put a dent in Amazon and other online retailers’ sales who rely heavily on UPS and Fedex to deliver packages when customers are guaranteed them.

It also comes as no surprise that the latest consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 gaming consoles were so popular that at the peak of sales for each console, customers bought more than 1,000 units per minute. Amazon’s most popular tablets were no surprise, the Kindle Fire HD, Fire HDX 7" and Fire HDX 9". All three of the most popular TVs were Samsung LED TVs. The most popular laptops were Samsung’s Chromebook, ASUS’s Transformer Book and Acer’s Chromebook, clearly the Chromebook is gaining more popularity than anyone originally expected. The most popular cameras were actually fairly low-end Canon T3i, Powershot A2500 and a Fujifilm instant camera. And to wrap it all up, the most popular games were Call of Duty: Ghosts for Xbox and Just Dance for Xbox.

Overall, Amazon’s online sales are a perfect example of the power of e-commerce even with the fact that they have to charge taxes in the country’s two biggest states. Even with these restrictions recently put on them, it appears that they’ve had the best holiday shopping season of their history and it will likely result in them growing even more than anyone had expected. I suspect that this fourth quarter may by far be Amazon’s best, ever. Many companies are likely going to have similar results, simply because of the sheer volume of online sales and a stronger economy.