Dot’s All, Folks
Prime Cut: Before the Christmas guests had even left this morning, Amazon declared Holiday 2017 its biggest holiday season ever. The e-tailer owes much of its yuletide success to the diminutive Echo Dot, which provided a $30 entrée to the Alexa ecosystem and became the season’s best-selling product, period.
TWICE Take: Along with the millions of Dots sold, customers by the millions empowered their Trojan horses with Amazon Prime memberships. In fact, more than 4 million people activated paid memberships or free trials in one week alone, the company boasted, further tightening its grip on consumer purse strings worldwide.
In The Blink Of An Eye
Prime Cut: Just days ahead of Santa, Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos bought himself a nifty Christmas gift last week in the guise of Blink, the smart-home startup that makes connected doorbells and award-winning, battery-powered security cameras.
TWICE Take: While the acquisition (terms undisclosed) wedges the door to our homes ever wider, Amazon will also gain a grounding in image processing chip technology on the cheap, as Blink’s parent, Immedia Semiconductor, has been on the market for months.
Amazon Outpaced In Holiday Home Stretch
Prime Cut: Despite Amazon’s record season, there’s a new winner in the holiday shopping stakes: Walmart. After tying with Amazon for top share of purse over the Thanksgiving weekend, the world’s largest discount chain pulled ahead, drawing 69 percent of household purchases during the three-week period between Cyber Monday and Dec. 19, vs. 64 percent for Amazon.
TWICE Take: According to TWICE market research partner Senex, a combination of attractive prices and sharp promotions fired up the traditionally slow shopping stretch between Black Friday and Christmas – leaving all other retailers in the dust.
All In The Family
Prime Cut: Echo first hit it big last Christmas when it became Amazon’s best-selling device of Holiday 2016. Now that some of the novelty has worn off, and Alexa, the AI program behind it, has settled into households, Slate decided to ask families what they thought of their virtual visitor.
TWICE Take: “A few things are for sure,” the reporting concluded: For some, Alexa became like a sibling. For others, she became the other woman. A few Echo’s never got activated. But what was perhaps most significant is that for the majority of owners the idea of talking to a disembodied machine became perfectly natural.
Prime Cut: In another dust-up involving Amazon and its competitors, the Bezos bunch took umbrage with a Wikibuy pricing study reported by TWICE, which showed that the e-tailer’s retails were 11 percent higher on average than those of other online stores.
TWICE Take: In an email to TWICE, Amazon described the pre-Christmas study as “deeply flawed and misleading,” noting that “Amazon prices are as low [as] or lower than any other retailer, and we work hard for customers to ensure that’s true during the holiday season, and all year long.”
Top Two Amazon Predictions For 2018
Prime Cut: Based on recent marketplace developments and a reading of the tea leaves, Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom has compiled a top 10 list of retail predictions for the New Year, and Amazon is the focus of two of them.
TWICE Take: Amazon Prediction No. 1: Amazon will not buy another storefront retailer next year, but will focus instead on digesting its $13 billion Whole Foods acquisition from August. Amazon Prediction No. 2: Amazon and Kohl’s will extend their in-store partnership beyond its current 92-store base, furthering the e-tailer’s brick-and-mortar ambitions.
Amazon Quote Of The Week
“It’s possessed.” — Echo owner Emily Flaster, on life with Alexa.