Amazon Found Joy This Holiday Season

Procrastinating customers paid off for Amazon.com this year, as
last-minute shoppers pushed the online retailer to a record holiday sales
season and helped the company achieve its single biggest day ever.

The Seattle-based online retailer said it booked a single-day record when
shoppers ordered more than 2.8 million items worldwide, the equivalent of 32
items every second, on its busiest day between Nov. 25 and Dec. 23. Amazon did
not disclose which was the biggest sales day or provide numbers for the entire
season.

The company said it extended the standard shipping deadline
this year by two days from Dec. 18 to Dec. 20, providing customers with more
leeway when scrambling for those last-minute orders.

Apple products helped pave the way for the big season with
three of its offerings — the 20GB iPod, 4GB Mini iPod and
prepaid iTunes card — making Amazon’s hot list in the electronic products category.
In fact, consumer electronics were a huge boost, beating out book and CD sales on
the Web site for the first time. Comedian Jon Stewart’s America: A Citizen’s
Guide to Democracy Inaction
topped the book list.

Amazon also claimed great success fulfilling customers’ orders, with 99 percent
of them shipped in time to meet holiday deadlines worldwide.

The news of the robust sales boosted its stock about 8 percent to $42.27, up from $38.93.

“We are extremely grateful to our customers,” Jeff Bezos, founder and chief
executive officer of Amazon.com, said in a statement.

Amazon wasn’t the only grateful company for a good holiday season. Online sales
on the whole reached $13.5 billion in the days running up to Christmas, a 28 percent
increase from last year, according to comScore Networks.

In addition to online sales numbers booming, relatively new businesses like
satellite radio hit their stride.

Just two days after Christmas, SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced
it had surpassed a year-end target of one million subscribers.
SIRIUS credited sharp holiday sales for the boost it needed to meet its target.

Meanwhile, SIRIUS’s chief competitor, XM Satellite Radio ,
announced it also reached its year-end goal of 3.1 million subscribers, in part
because of the holiday sales spike.

Washington, D.C.-based XM and New York-based Sirius offer 100 channels of
digital audio entertainment for a monthly fee.

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