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Amazon’s Echo devices prove popular with holiday shoppers

December 27, 2016 02:25 PM
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Amazon.com Inc. apparently found itself on many shoppers’ “nice” lists this holiday shopping season.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, says it had record sales this holiday season, though the retailer declines to specify a dollar amount or how much sales increased year over year. An Amazon spokeswoman, when asked for further details, said only “our sales exceeded any previous holiday.” The e-retailer releases its Q4 and full-year financial results at the end of January.

One item that seemed to be on many wish lists this year was Amazon’s voice-controlled Echo devices. The retailer reports sales of the devices were up ninefold over the holiday period last year.

"Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products across Amazon this year, and we’re thrilled that millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa as a result,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer business. Alexa is the name of Amazon’s Echo digital assistant and the name of the software that powers it.

Amazon sold out of Echo devices in the days before Christmas. A search Tuesday for Echo devices on Amazon.com reveals that Echo Dot devices ($49.99) are in stock, however Amazon Echo standing devices ($179.99) will not be available until Jan. 20.

“The team is working hard to build more and get back in stock as quickly as possible,” the Amazon spokeswoman says. “We’re excited that so many customers picked Echo, Echo Dot and other Alexa devices this holiday season.” Amazon declined to provide data on how many shoppers placed orders via voice with Echo devices, saying only “we are pleased with the result.”

Plenty of Amazon customers used their mobile devices this holiday season (November-December), with  72% of Amazon shoppers worldwide using a mobile device to make a purchase on the site, though Amazon declined to provide a breakdown between shoppers who bought on tablets compared with smartphones. Shopping via Amazon’s mobile app increased 56% worldwide this holiday season, the e-retailer says.

Amazon Prime subscribers, who in the United States pay a $99 annual fee to receive perks such as free two-day shipping and access to streaming video, also proved to be key in the company’s holiday success this year.

“More than one billion items shipped worldwide with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon this holiday season,” the company says, adding that the last delivery of the holiday shopping season was to a Prime member at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Christmas Eve.

The fastest delivery for a Prime Now order on Christmas Eve—Prime Now delivers select items to Prime customers within two hours for no fee—took 13 minutes and was delivered at 9:05 p.m. in California, Amazon says. Dec. 23 was the “biggest day ever” for Prime Now deliveries worldwide, with Prime customers ordering three times as many items as they did in 2015, the retailer says.

According to the most recent data from securities research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon has an estimated 65 million Prime members in the United States, or roughly 20% of the United States population. 

 

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