It always seems impossible, yet somehow, they keep doing it.
Amazon continuously surpasses its best sales days and seasons almost every year (and most certainly every month). The 2019 holiday season was no different for the e-commerce giant. Amazon hit “record high" holiday sales from Black Friday through to those coveted after-Christmas sales.
In fact, Amazon had the largest advance in the stock market as well, with stocks hitting the top of the S&P 500 before the end of the year. On December 26th, Amazon shares rose by as much as 3.4% in low-volume trading. This made it the greatest advancement on the index, surpassing stocks of major department stores.
Needless to say, Amazon ruled the 2019 holiday season.
But how Much did Amazon Actually Sell?
Amazon has yet to report specific numbers just yet, and they might not do so in order to leave some mystery for its competitors.
However, we do know that they shipped billions of items. This includes “tens of millions” of Amazon-specific devices such as their line of Echo products.
Interestingly, Mastercard also reported that overall sales for department stores (not Amazon) declined 1.8% during the 2019 holidays… But their eCommerce sales grew by 6.9%. That means that e-commerce is actually taking up an even bigger chunk of sales, and it’s keeping a lot of larger stores afloat amidst major competition.
A lot of companies with online offerings saw similar proportional growth as Amazon. In order to keep up with the rising demand for online offerings, a lot of big-box stores began offering more streamlined omnichannel opportunities, like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store or Ship Item To Store.
Stores also started their Black Friday sales much earlier this year. Thanksgiving ran later in the season, so a lot of organizations chose to start the holiday sale season before Thanksgiving week. This might have something to do with how well the holiday season was able to succeed at such a substantial integer this year. Amazon especially was offering deep discounts and deals several weeks before Cyber Monday, with lightning deals being especially important for Amazon leading up to the Black Friday sale days.
These Holiday Numbers are Incredible
But, we’re still waiting for the final tally… Because we also expect a significant volume of returns this year. These companies can’t count their sales towards profit until the return period has passed, and they see how may products actually remained “purchased.”
The company offers a return period before January 31 for all products sold during the holiday season, so we likely won’t see their final numbers until February. From a logistics standpoint, lots of returns (especially free Prime returns) could radically impact the company’s revenue not only by losing the sale itself but by potentially costing them for return shipping and reverse logistics.
Amazon has a unique method for their returns that will minimize this cost, though. For certain products, customers can return their goods—without packaging—to Amazon lockers in Whole Foods, apartment complexes, and other locations. Amazon has even partnered with Kohl’s for in-store drop-offs. This is going to make it easier for Amazon to bring items back to local warehouses with a shorter reverse logistics of just the last mile.
Despite the returns, the company sold billions of products this holiday season. Even with a high volume of returns, these record-breaking sales has still likely create record-breaking profits.