Kindle Helps Amazon Power Successful Holiday Season

Amazon on Thursday said it had its best holiday season ever, powered by a record 36.8 million orders on Cyber Monday. The company also highlighted results from Amazon Prime, its annual membership program offering free shipping, which added 1 million customers in the third week of December.

As usual, the online retailer didn’t disclose the number of Kindle devices, but only noted that “millions of customers unwrapped Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets this holiday season.” It also said the Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend was the best ever for the Kindle line.

Last week, comScore pointed out that online shopping has surged on weekends this holiday season, with growth up four-fold, compared to gains during the workweek. The research firm has projected U.S. holiday e-commerce sales will rise 14% in 2013 to $48.1 billion. Through last week, the total had reached $37.8 billion.

Increased shopping on smartphones and tablets is helping to boost that amount. Mobile traffic this holiday season made up nearly half (48%) of all online traffic, up 28.3% compared to a year ago, according to IBM’slatest digital benchmark report today. Mobile sales accounted for almost 29% of online sales, up 40% over 2012.

Underscoring that growth, Amazon said more than half of its customers shopped using a mobile device during the holidays and between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Customers ordered more than five toys per second on a mobile device.

Besides Kindle Fire HD and HDX models, top-selling products for Amazon during the holidays across different categories included the Samsung 32” LED HDTV; the Samsung Chromebook and ASUS Transformer Book; the Canon EOS Rebel T3; “Call of Duty: Ghosts” (for the Xbox 360); and among toys, the Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit.

Among other digital entertainment top sellers were “Despicable Me 2,” Lady Gaga’s “Artpop,” and on Prime Instant Video, Season 1 of “Alpha House.”

Among other highlights from the Amazon release today:

*The number of apps and games in the Amazon Appstore more than doubled in 2013 to more than 100,000.

*The most gifted Kindle book during the holiday season was “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham.

*50 Kindle Direct Publishing authors each sold more than 100,000 copies of their books in 2013. The best-selling author during the holiday season was H.M. Ward.

*At the peak of their sales, the new Xbox and PlayStation 4 consoles sold more than 1,000 units a minute.

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