SEATTLE — Wearables is becoming big business at Amazon.com.
The world’s largest e-tailer said the category is quickly becoming one of its most popular, and has enjoyed a tripledigit sales increase year over year since the company launched a Wearable Technology section in April.
It later added more than 200 products, giving the cyber store “the largest selection of wearable devices anywhere,” the company said.
The expansion continued this season with the launch of two new categories — smart glasses and smart sports accessories — plus a number of exclusive items. The latter include Tile, a tracking device that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to located personal items like keys, laptops and handbags, and the first consumer smart glasses from Vuzix, a commercial supplier.
“We’re constantly looking for new products to feature in our Wearable Technology store, and we’re thrilled to offer our customers the widest selection of wearable devices anywhere,” said John Nemeth, Amazon’s wireless and mobile electronics director. “As wearable technology continues to grow, this holiday season we’re teaming up with new and innovative brands to offer the latest wearable devices, along with tools that help customers discover, research and compare products to find the right device for them, or gift for a loved one.”
Underscoring the point, the e-tailer updated its Amazon App for Android phones to include support for Android Wear devices in the U.S., thereby extending its m-commerce reach to smart watches. The smart-watch app is automatically available for customers who pair their Android Wear watch with their phone. Users can tap the Amazon App to initiate a voice search, use “1-Click” buying on eligible items, or add products to their Amazon “Wish List,” the company said.
Wearables also figure prominently in Amazon’s annual Electronics Holiday Gift Guide, released last month, which features a curated list of over 500 “top electronics gifts” and three time more deals than last year.
The products are sorted into eight lifestyle categories, including wearables, gaming, photography, home office and music, under such customer classifications as “The Student,” “The Music Enthusiast,” “High-Tech Living,” and “The Gadget Guru.”
Customers can also filter by price, discount, category, lifestyle classification and customer reviews.
Gift Guide deals include $30 off select Bose headphones; savings of up to $100 on new Asus laptops; 50 percent off Jam Plus portable speakers; $120 off Yamaha’s YAS-93 soundbar with dual built-in subwoofers; and 20-percent off Denon’s AVR-X3100W 7.2-channel full 4K Ultra HD A/V receiver with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
“Throughout the holidays, electronics are always some of the most wished-for items on Amazon wish lists and this year there are a number of hot gifts for customers to discover — from wearables for healthy living to a wireless home theater,” said Laura Orvidas, Amazon’s recently named CE VP, succeeding Ben Hartman.
In other company news, a consumer- facing link has emerged between the e-tailer and The Washington Post, purchased earlier this year by Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos: The newspaper has released a new mobile app exclusively for Amazon Fire tablet customers offering free and unlimited access to its content for six months.
Amazon said the app will be made available as part of a free over-the-air software update for Fire tablets, including Fire HDX, Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD.