amazon prime day

It was a given going into the holiday season that Inc. would dominate online sales — the only question was by how much.

The answer seems to be by a lot.

The web giant said Wednesday morning that Cyber Monday was its biggest shopping day ever, surpassing Prime Day in July for the most products ordered worldwide. Cyber Monday orders through its app jumped more than 50 percent from a year earlier, with its AI-powered Echo Dot assistant ranking as the best-selling item.

Amazon customers shopped at record levels during the Turkey Five [covering the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday], ordering hundreds of millions of products from toys to fashion to electronics and Amazon devices,” said Jeff Wilke, chief executive officer of worldwide consumer at the company. “Customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses alone.”

The mention of fashion is important, given that it is a category that Amazon is trying to boost, although the apparel business on the web site is still stronger in commodity apparel than cutting-edge style.

Adobe reported that consumers boosted their overall online spending on Cyber Monday, shelling out 16.8 percent to a record $6.59 billion this year. That’s a healthy rate, but Amazon appears to be taking a bigger share of the pie.

GBH Insights reported on Monday that Amazon was on track to win 45 to 50 percent of all online holiday sales this year.

That momentum helped propel Amazon stock and pushed founder Jeff Bezos’ net worth briefly over $100 billion (by Wednesday, his kitty had fallen back to $98.5 billion).

Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH, pinned a lot of Amazon’s strength on the company’s Prime membership, which offers free two-day shipping on many items, free streaming movies and music and other perks.

“We are seeing Prime membership remain the ‘golden jewel’ of the Bezos empire as our estimate of 85 million Prime members has increased significantly — roughly 40 percent — year over year with the average Prime customer forecasted to spend between 20 percent to 25 percent more this holiday season than the year ago period,” Ives said. “The ring-fence that Amazon has built around its Prime customer base has significantly benefited the company in a fiercely competitive Cyber Monday pricing environment with much more competitive prices from Wal-Mart in particular seen across inventory during the day.”

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