Sat, Dec 31, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Kindle sales on fire in holiday season: Amazon


Amazon said on Thursday that it sold more than 1 million Kindles a week this month, with the new Kindle Fire tablet computer its top-selling item.

This year saw “the best holiday ever for the Kindle family as customers purchased millions of Kindle Fires and millions of Kindle e-readers,” the Seattle-based online retail giant said in a statement.

Amazon said the Kindle Fire has been the “No. 1 best-selling, most gifted and most wished for product” on since it went on sale 13 weeks ago.

Besides the Kindle Fire, Amazon offers a range of Kindle electronic book readers.

Amazon said it sold “well over” 1 million Kindle devices per week this month, with the Kindle Touch and basic Kindle taking the top two spots after the Fire.

Amazon said the Kindle is its best-selling item in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in addition to the US.

The company said “gifting” of Kindle books between Nov. 25 and Christmas Day rose 175 percent compared with the holiday period last year, with Christmas Day the biggest day ever for Kindle book downloads.

Despite the rosy sales numbers for the gadgets, Goldman Sachs said in a research note that the online titan may fall short of fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

Industry tracker comScore found that US online spending for the first 56 days of the November-December holiday season rose 15 percent over the same period last year to US$35.3 billion.

“On average, Amazon’s year-over-year sales growth in the fourth quarter has outpaced holiday season eCommerce by 23 points,” Goldman Sachs said. “As such, the comScore data released today would imply top-line growth of 38 percent year-over-year to US$17.87 billion, slightly below current consensus of US$18.19 billion, up 40 percent year-over-year.”

Piper Jaffray Cos, however, gave a more upbeat view on fourth-quarter sales, saying in a report that Amazon might beat estimates, boosted by sales of its new Kindle Fire tablet.

Meanwhile, Amazon shares lost 0.02 percent on Wall Street to close at US$173.86. The stock has declined 3.4 percent this year.

The Kindle Fire costs US$199, less than half the price of the cheapest iPad from tablet market leader Apple.

It has a seven-inch screen, smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inches, connects to the Web using Wi-Fi and is powered by Google’s Android software.

It does not have a camera or the 3G connectivity featured on other tablets, but gives buyers easy access to Amazon’s online store, which sells books, music, movies, TV shows, games and other content.

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