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Amazon Reports Record Holiday Sales

Posted: Dec 30, 2008 09:56 a.m.

The holiday buying season might have been dismal for stores in general, but there is one retailer that's not crying the blues -- Amazon. Its holiday press release reported 2008 sales from Black Friday through December were the best ever in 14 years.

The New York Times says, "Amazon's press release has all sorts of entertaining factoids: the weight of all GPS devices it sold from Black Friday through December equals the combined weight of 151 Mini Coopers; it sold enough 'Breaking Dawn' books that, if stacked end to end, they could reach the summit of Mount Everest eight times; and its top sellers in electronics included a 52-inch Samsung LCD HDTV and the eight-gigabyte Apple iPod Touch."

Other useless facts? Amazon sold enough coffee to give everyone in Seattle a cup per day for two months, enough Casio G-Shock watches to give to everyone who attended Kanye West's Glow in the Dark concert in Madison Square Garden, and enough Spalding basketballs to fill three C-130 cargo planes.

Amazon's press release also reports that its peak day for shopping was Dec. 15, when customers ordered 6.3 million items or almost 73 items each second.

The top sellers this holiday for Amazon and other stores were big ticket electronic items. Motley Fool reports, "Netbooks were the hot PC items, led by the blue sapphire Acer Aspire. Apple's iPod touch as a top seller in consumer electronics, so Apple wasn't completely shut out."

GPS Magazine writes, "Amazon's won't say how many GPS units it actually sold, but making some basic assumptions, we can reverse engineer the number: assuming the average boxed GPS weighs about 2.5 lbs, then one could estimate that Amazon shipped about 154,442 GPS units this holiday. Not too shabby."

So why did Amazon do so well where others fell short? It's because Amazon, like another holiday big winner, Wal-Mart, has a reputation for selling its wares at discount prices. Meanwhile, other businesses tried to slash their prices to lure in shoppers, but ultimately may have affected their bottom line.

The Mercury News reports that shopping offers and online promotions and rebates also could have driven more online purchases.

The bargains keep rolling in -- from Amazon and elsewhere. Even in the dregs of the season, you can still find a great deal on a cool gadget. Check out the best GPS deals online and in the store, or go to U.S. News' GPS reviews for information on the hottest portable navigation devices out today.