Amazon's Holiday Season Soars By 44 Percent at Peak

The busiest online shopping season in history catapulted Amazon.com’s own third-generation Kindle to become its bestselling product in history, eclipsing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh book in the children’s series.

That’s some pretty magical stuff, and in a press release, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t let the moment pass without comparing it to other tablet devices, like, um, the iPad.

“We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions. They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display that reduces eye-strain, doesn’t interfere with sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight, an important consideration especially for vacation reading. Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that people don’t have to choose.”

The Kindle was only one of many items that consumers flocked to the internet seller for. The company also announced that on its peak day, Nov. 29, which is known within the industry as Cyber Monday, customers ordered more than 13.7 million items worldwide, a record-breaking 158 items per second.

For instance, if you folded each pair of jeans customers bought and stacked them on top of each other, the height would be the equivalent of Mt. Everest. That’s a lot of denim.

Last year, Amazon’s peak day was Dec. 14 when customers ordered 9.5 million items worldwide, a previous record of 110 items per second. This year’s shopping pace was up 44 percent per second, compared to last year which also broke records.

Still, Wall Street was hesitant to reward the retailer. Amazon’s stock was trading down slightly in morning trading to $181.40 a share.

Amazon’s busiest shopping day coincedes with this season’s busiest online shopping day. This year, comScore found that Cyber Monday, which hit an all-time record of $1.03 billion, was the peak for the first time in history. Overall, comScore has estimated that spending online is up about 12 percent. Although Cyber Monday broke the $1 billion mark, many other days also performed strongly.

Amazon has never said specifically how many Kindles it has sold, and estimates have varied widely. Just prior to Christmas, it announced on an online forum that it had sold “millions” of new Kindles in the first 73 days of the holiday quarter.

Amazon shared a few other numbers:

– On Christmas Day, more people turned on new Kindles for the first time, downloaded more Kindle Buy Once, Read Everywhere apps, and purchased more Kindle books than on any other day in history.

– On the peak day this season, Amazon’s worldwide fulfillment network shipped over 9 million units across all product categories.

– Amazon shipped to 178 countries.

– One of Amazon’s most remote shipments contained the “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue,” “Toy Story” DVDs, “Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul,” NHL 11, Halo Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops and was delivered to the hamlet of Grise Fiord, north of the Arctic Circle in Canada.

– “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was the most purchased Kindle book on Christmas Day. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was the most gifted Kindle book on Christmas Day.

– Of Amazon’s top 500 most popular Kindle books, “The Dork Diaries” saw the greatest gain in popularity on Christmas Day.

– There were millions of Price Checks (the Amazon iPhone app) from Black Friday through the FREE Super-Saver Shipping cut-off date (for delivery before Christmas).

– During the holiday season, the biggest mobile shopping days for iPad, iPhone and Android users was Sunday, however the biggest mobile shopping day for BlackBerry users was Friday.

– The last One-Day Prime order that was delivered in time for Christmas, was placed on Dec. 23 at 6:48 p.m. PST and shipped to Billerica, Mass., for delivery on Dec. 24. The item was a Nautica Men’s NST Chronograph Bracelet Watch.

– The last Local Express Delivery order that was delivered in time for Christmas was placed by a Prime member and went to Woodinville, Wash. It was an Apple Mac Mini that was ordered at 1:41 p.m. on Christmas Eve and delivered at 8:04 p.m. that evening.

– Amazon customers purchased enough snow/tire chains to outfit the entire population of three of America’s top ski cities: Aspen, Breckenridge and Sun Valley.

– For the holiday time period alone, Amazon customers bought enough copies of “Eclipse” for Edward Cullen to watch the movie 1,000 times a day for all 109 years of his life.


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