Are Amazon’s devices big sellers or not?
It was only a few months ago that Amazon.com began shelving and scaling back many of the consumer device projects it was working on. But given Amazon’s Black Friday sales statistics this year, one wonders if the company might not reconsider backing away from the consumer device market.
USA Today reported that Amazon’s biggest-selling items on Black Friday weekend were the e-tailer’s own devices. The Fire Tablet and the Fire TV stick were the two top sellers. The Amazon Echo, the e-tailer’s home personal assistant, was the biggest seller of all items over $100.
Amazon did not release specific sales figures for the devices, according to the USA Today article.
Amazon is not shy about jettisoning projects that do not take off. But reports that the failure of Amazon’s Fire Phone led to unprecedented layoffs in the company’s Lab126 hardware development center raised questions about how much the company should invest in the device market.
Speculation on the reasons for the failure of the Fire Phone to hit it big ranged from arriving late in an overcrowded market to availability through too few retail outlets, online or brick-and-mortar. Fire Phone’s clear attempt to pull and lock users into Amazon’s e-commerce ecosystem was another reason cited. The Fire Phone featured a physical "Buy" button on the device.
Increased holiday sales of Amazon Echo could demonstrate that consumers are less concerned about being pushed to shop Amazon by their devices than previously thought.
Some, however, are not sold on the idea that Amazon has made a marked rebound in the device market at all. Market intelligence website Gigaom points out that Amazon’s reticence to share exact numbers makes it difficult to know if the holiday statistics mean what they appear to.
The Gigaom article cites high on-site visibility and low prices on Amazon products during Black Friday as factors driving the purchase of the devices. The Fire Tablet, for instance, not only retails for $50, it was recently sold in a six-pack.
The Gigaom article also notes that company secrecy over specific sales details can lead to misleading numbers. For instance, Amazon publicized that it had sold more than six times the number of Fire TV streaming devices this Black Friday weekend than it had during the same weekend last year, and three times as many Fire tablets in that period. But without knowing how many devices were sold in the first place, is it difficult to truly gauge the devices’ popularity using such a metric.
- Amazon devices hit record sales over weekend – USA Today
- Future of Amazon consumer devices in question after Fire Phone failure – RetailWire
- Why Amazon Fire Phone Failed – Fortune.com
- Amazon’s celebration of ‘record’ holiday weekend sales is short on details – Gigaom
Will Amazon’s apparently high consumer device sales over the holidays inform a renewed investment in device development? Do you think the sales numbers are as impressive as they seem or is Amazon trying to shift the device market’s perception with a media event?