Amazon Crushes Christmas

Given the ongoing parade of headlines about the Web's total domination of the holiday shopping season thus far, it should come as a surprise to no one that Amazon is announcing a very successful cap-off to what has been a great year.

So good, in fact, that the notoriously secretive firm has decided to offer a peek — albeit a fleeting one — at some figures this year.

According to Amazon's annual holiday postmortem, at least 3 million new members were added to Amazon Prime's rolls this holiday season.

“This was another great holiday season to be a Prime member, and we welcomed 3 million new members in the third week of December alone,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. “Over 200 million more items shipped for free with Prime this holiday, and members doubled their viewing hours of Prime Video compared to last year, with the Amazon original series "The Man in the High Castle" leading the way as the most watched TV season ever on Prime Video. On behalf of Amazon employees around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and the very best for the coming year.”

As for how many Prime members Amazon currently has in total?

Shockingly, Amazon did not disclose a specific number for that, though the release does note it being in the "tens of millions" — a figure that would accurately describe any number of members between 20 million and 90 million. The current going high-side estimate, care of Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital, pegs the global figure at around 80 million, with 50 million U.S. subscribers. Lower-end estimates peg U.S. enrollment in Prime at around 44 million (as of fall 2015).

And while Prime was the standout news, so to speak, it was not the only tidings of good cheer on offer from the nation's largest eCommerce player. Amazon also boasted strong device sales this holiday season, claiming to double last year's record for devices sold. (Of course, it does at least seem worth noting that 2014 was the year of the great Fire Phone flop, and so doubling up on last year was something that almost might have been expected).

However, this year the fire being discussed was not a phone but the newest edition of the Fire tablet, which, according to Amazon, was its best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product since it was introduced 15 weeks ago. That ~$50 tablet is widely considered the only offering in its class at that price point (the iPad Mini, as a point of comparison, costs between $200–$350 depending on which model and where one buys it). Analyst have called the tablet a "gateway drug" for Amazon Prime.

Apart from the tablet's successes this year, Amazon was also touting the successes of the Fire TV Stick and Amazon Echo devices — both of which were represented in the top five of all Prime Now service on Christmas Eve.

And speaking of Prime Now, that seems to have gotten something of a toehold in 2015 with its availability in 20 cities. And Prime Now was literally running right down to the wire; the last order delivered through the service made it into the hands of the customer at 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve in San Antonio, Texas. What was in the order? Blue Buffalo dog treats, an gift card, the all-new Fire tablet, Fruitables dog treats, LEGO Star Wars Death Star Final Duel Building Kit, a Moleskine classic notebook and Stove Top Stuffing Mix. The last Prime free same day-delivery order made was entered at two minutes to 10 a.m. in Phoenix, Arizona; it was delivered by 3 p.m. the same day.

Amazon's post-holiday release also contained an interesting nugget on how its customers were shopping, with the note that 70 percent of the customers on the site shopped using a mobile device.

And then there is just the, well, strange data...

For example, if one were to take all the pieces out of all the Jenga sets sold on Amazon this Christmas, they could build a structure larger than the Empire State Building. If one were to gather all 50-inch plasma TVs sold on Amazon this Christmas, you would be able to span the Grand Canyon with them. If one were to start building with all the LEGOs sold on Amazon this holiday season, they would be able to "build life-sized replicas of every person attending a sold-out Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field." With all the women’s boots sold on Amazon this holiday season, one could build a tower that would reach all the way to the International Space Station.

So, how does a firm top all of that?

In 2016, look to see a stronger focus on the digital media streaming, original television and movie productions. Various media reports indicate Amazon plans to produce 16 feature films a year.

Plus, Jeff Bezos did recently note to Die Welt in an interview, "We want to win an Oscar."

And honestly, it's hard to rule out the possibility entirely.



About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.