Amazon is touting its biggest holiday season to date, with the Echo Dot voice assistant coming in as its single best-selling product.
The e-tailer did not release detailed sales data, as is its usual practice, but instead hinted at the number of specific items sold through “fun facts” like enough shoes were sold during the holiday season to “stretch from Alaska to Miami” if lined up end-to-end, which is about 4,900 miles, or 26 million feet. It also offered that “tens of millions” of its voice controlled, or Alexa, devices were sold worldwide.
Last year, Amazon described the 2016 holiday season as its best, leaving sales to be surpassed this year of $4.74 billion, according to an estimate by online retail researcher internetretailer.com. In its most recent fourth-quarter projections, Amazon expected sales for the period covering most of November, December and January to top out at $60.5 billion.
“Since Day One, we have obsessed over what we believe our customers care about — incredible deals and low prices, fast and free shipping, and a wide selection of top products — and we continue to provide all three, all the time,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s worldwide consumer chief executive officer, boasted.
As for other fashion items, Amazon said Asics’ Venture 5 running shoe was a bestseller, along with Alex and Ani’s adjustable wire bracelet, Levi’s men’s 505 regular fit jeans and Uggs’ classic short shearling boot for women.
Amazon noted that it sold enough Calvin Klein products “to give five items to every attendee at Coachella 2017.” This year Coachella hosted 250,000 people over two consecutive weekends, meaning about 1.25 million Calvin Klein items sold during the holiday shopping season.
Emanuel Chirico, chief executive officer of Calvin Klein’s parent company PVH Corp., said at the end of November that a recent tie-up with Amazon Fashion had been good for the brand, despite being mainly focused on its underwear business. “It’s really created a lot of momentum around the brand and more excitement,” Chirico said of the partnership.
But beauty also found its way into Amazon’s top-selling products — even though many prestige brands remain reluctant to sell on the platform. The company said Mario Badescu’s aloe and rosewater facial spray was its top luxury beauty item, followed by Stila’s waterproof liquid eyeliner and Bioderma’s Micellar water.
Outside of sales, Amazon said the season saw users of its voice-assistant devices interacting with them much more than last year. People had Alexa play three times more music, asked for “tens of millions” of jokes and even wished Alexa itself “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays” and “Happy Hanukkah” three-and-a-half times more this year.
And, as seems to be one of Amazon’s main goals, its Prime membership numbers rose considerably, with four million people either signing up for a trial or paid version of the membership in one week alone. According to online stats aggregator Statsia, Amazon had 90 million Prime members as of September, and that’s likely to have exceeded 100 million by now.
The holidays weren’t all rosy, however. The season saw Amazon warehouse workers in Europe and New Jersey protest over working conditions and wages, France’s Minister of the Economy sue the company over allegations that its contracts with independent sellers were unfair, and an agreement to pay 100 million euros to Italy to end a tax probe.
Amazon is also facing allegations by the European Commission that it owes more than 250 million euros in back taxes related to the shifting of European profits to a holding company in Luxembourg, where it was given more favorable tax rates.
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