The holiday season is only just getting started, and it's already been a banner one for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The shopping season normally kicks off in earnest with the sales that commence on the day after Thanksgiving. But Amazon wanted to get a jump on the competition, so it launched a week-long parade of deals with its "Countdown to Black Friday" sale, which began on Nov. 17.
We won't know until earnings season just how good things were. In typical Amazon fashion, the company revealed plenty of data points and juicy tidbits without releasing actual sales numbers. The details it did provide, however, offer a glimpse into the magnitude of its success.
A record pace
In a press release, Amazon revealed that the holiday shopping weekend produced record sales of Amazon electronic devices. The company singled out four of its devices as the "top selling products across all categories" on its e-commerce website: the Echo Dot smart speaker, the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, the all-new Echo, and the Fire 7 tablet. The No. 1 selling product across the globe was the Echo Dot.
The company said that millions of Amazon devices were sold between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The Echo Dot and Amazon Fire TV Stick were not only the best-selling Amazon devices but were "the best-selling products from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon.com."
The company was cagey about the sales numbers, saying that it sold "2.7 times as many Fire TV Sticks" as in the corresponding period a year ago. The recently released Echo Spot, the mini smart speaker with a touchscreen and video camera, has already sold out for the holiday season. Amazon noted that it's taking preorders and will fill those after the first of the year.
A record breaker
In July, Amazon announced that Prime Day 2017 was the single biggest shopping day in the company's history, with sales that increased 60% over last year's event. But records are meant to be broken, and Amazon confirmed that Cyber Monday was the company's biggest sales day ever.
It wasn't just Amazon products that broke records. AncestryDNA, a DNA testing kit from Ancestry.com, sold 700% more kits through Amazon's website on Cyber Monday than in all of last year's holiday season combined.
The Echo Dot was also the biggest-selling product on Cyber Monday.
What this could mean for earnings
In its most recent quarter, Amazon posted results that surprised even the most bullish investors. Revenue of $43.7 billion increased 34% year over year and exceeded the high end of the company's forecast. Even excluding the Whole Foods contribution, net sales increased by 29%.
When questioned during the conference call about the surprisingly good results, CFO Brian Olsavsky stated, "I wouldn't point to anything other than the Prime Day pickup, but stronger than -- it was stronger than probably I anticipated."
For its fourth-quarter guidance, Amazon forecast net sales $58.25 billion, at the midpoint of its estimates, which would represent growth of 33% over last year's holiday quarter.
With the midpoint of its guidance slightly below the pace of growth seen in the third quarter, and a record-setting start to the holiday season, Amazon may have once again underestimated what it could do.
If so, Amazon investors should have a flurry of good numbers to look forward to with the next earnings report.