Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is the largest e-commerce business in the world by almost any measure. The company has a market valuation of more than $80 billion, which makes it one of the 50 most valuable public corporations in the United States. Its revenue for the quarter that includes the holidays is expected to be $14 billion, and operating profits should be above $500 million. Amazon is no longer primarily a vendor of books, e-books, and e-readers. The company sold $4 billion worth of consumer electronics and merchandise during the last quarter.
Amazon.com had 80.3 million unique visitors during October in the United States, more than double the next two e-commerce sites, Walmart.com and Target.com. That is only one part of Amazon’s online presence. Nearly half of Amazon’s sales now come from outside the US.
Amazon is credited with revolutionizing the way that people buy goods and services. E-commerce, which barely existed 15 years ago, is now so large that more than $1 billion worth of goods and services were ordered online on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest sales day in the Internet’s history. That figure was up more than 16% from last year’s Cyber Monday. U.S. online holiday sales will reach nearly $40 billion in 2010.
Amazon.com’s website is broken into 12 major categories: Books, Music & Movies, Digital Downloads,The Kindle, Computers & Office, Consumer Electronics, Home & Garden, Groceries & Health, Toys & Kids, Clothing & Shoes, Sports & Outdoor, Home Improvement & Tools, and Auto & Industrial. Given the site’s broad array of products, the buying habits of Amazon’s customers are a microcosm of people’s online purchasing habits as well as the buying habits of people who shop bricks-and-mortar stores.
24/7 Wall St. looked at the top selling product at 10 Amazon.com sales categories. The “best sellers” listed are updated each hour, and the most popular items will often stay on the “Top 100” list by sales in their category for weeks.
Some of the top-selling products are easy to guess. For instance, most people would not be surprised that the DVD of Leonardo DiCaprio’s smash hit “Inception” is at the top of the movie list or that Canon has the No. 1 digital camera. But, many of the most widely sold products were a revelation.
The 24/7 Wall St. Amazon.com Best Sellers List:
1) Toys & Games
Scrabble Flash Cubes by Hasbro
It’s amazing that the hottest toy on Amazon is loosely based on a 72-year-old classic board game for aspiring wordsmiths. Stores for kids such as Toys-R-Us may be suffering as adults buy games and toys online.
2) Electronics – Digital Media Devices
Apple TV MC572LL/A (2010)
Although Apple TV has only been available for a short time, it has already spent 26 days on Amazon’s list of top 100 best-selling electronics. It is currently ranked as the thirteenth best-selling electronic device and is the top-selling digital media device. The product’s increasingly positive reviews, along with the fact that Roku, another streaming digital media device, is right behind it in sales, suggests that media consumption is moving away from the DVD, hurting stores that sell the new devices and old DVD Blu-ray players.
George Bush’s “Decision Points”
George Bush’s autobiography beat out a lot of top-selling books, including three popular Steig Larssen novels about a girl kicking things and Keith Richards’ autobiography. Traditional print, and the stores that sell them like Barnes & Noble, are expected to continue to suffer this holiday season as e-books rise in popularity. This only leaves the stores the market for brand new hardcover books – a market Amazon does not seem to be leaving.
4) Electronics – Cellphones With Service
BlackBerry Pearl 8130 with Sprint
Considering the direction BlackBerry phones are taking in the smartphone market, it is surprising the BlackBerry Pearl beats out many popular devices, including the Google Android phones like HTC’s Incredible and Motorola’s Droid phones. A trend of buying smartphones online should hurt bricks-and mortar franchises – in this case, the Sprint store.
5) Sports and Outdoors – Clothing and Accessories
Indianapolis Colts Classic Adjustable Baseball Hat
Sportswear with team logos is always popular around the holidays, especially as football season approaches its peak. Sporting goods stores including Sports Authority rely on gift items such as team hats and coats to boost December sales. Amazon’s strength in this category comes at their expense.
6) Home & Garden – Large Appliances
Electronic Wine Bottle Opener
With regards to large home and garden appliances, Amazon’s most popular item is the Oster Electric Wine-Bottle Opener. The item removes corks in seconds, and can open up to 30 bottles on a single charge, making it a crucial tool for big parties where there’s lots of “holiday cheer.”
7) Pet Supplies
Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy for Dogs by Kygen
When one thinks of pet supplies they think of dog food, leashes, kitty litter and bird seed. Toys, it would seem, beats all of these. PetSmart and other pet supplies stores are being hurt by general big box retailers such as Walmart and Target, which offer many of the same products at deep discounts. Online sales of specialized pet products will hurt them more.
Susan Boyle: The Gift
While CD sales continue to plummet, they still make up a meaningful part of sales at book and music stores like Borders. The fact that a runner-up on “Britain’s Got Talent” has the number one selling CD on Amazon and the number 23 album on iTunes suggests that the pop music market is moving away from sales at stores altogether.
9) Video Games
Just Dance 2
Video games are no longer just for role-playing-gamers and first-person shooters. “Just Dance 2″ for Nintendo’s Wii is the best-selling video game on Amazon. Controlled by the Wii’s movement recognition system, the game has players dancing to hit songs for points. The game’s popularity on Amazon translates to a loss of business, however, for gaming stores such as GameStop and electronics stores such as Best Buy.
10) Magazines – Magazines & Newspapers
Popular Science (1-year auto-renewal)
Popular Science is the 66th largest magazine in circulation, according to The Association of Magazine Media. Surprisingly, it is the number one selling magazine on Amazon for one-year subscriptions. Perhaps this popularity is the result of a renewed interest in science and technology, or perhaps it’s because gift givers have simply run out of ideas. Regardless, the purchase of magazines online hurts companies which sell magazines at news stands, such as Hudson Group.
Douglas A. McIntyre, Michael Sauter, Charles Stockdale, Ashley Allen