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Amazon sales surge during a record-breaking holiday shopping season

Dec 1, 2020, 5:24 AM
Amazon hiring...
FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2019 file photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. While other companies are shrinking, Amazon is growing. The company said Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, that it is seeking to hire 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    (CNN) — Amazon was already having a blowout year. And it’s shaping up to be a record-breaking holiday shopping season, too.

Shoppers have been increasingly relying on Amazon to deliver goods to their homes during the pandemic, and that has proven particularly true as infections soar during the colder months. Amazon said Tuesday that this year’s holiday shopping season has been its largest (and longest) ever, which kicked off in mid-October with a delayed Prime Day.

Amazon said the record sales had a halo effect on small- and medium-sized businesses that use the platform. Those online sellers brought in nearly $5 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Amazon — a 60% increase from last year. Amazon has been regularly criticized for destroying these types of businesses and promoting its own branded products instead.

Top-selling items this year include Barack Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land,” the redesigned Echo Dot and the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush. Self-care and home goods were also popular as more people are confined to their homes during the outbreak.

As usual, Amazon didn’t release any specific sales numbers. But Adobe Analytics data showed online spending from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday broke records.

The firm said Thanksgiving day sales grew 22% compared to last year to $5.1 billion and Black Friday sales jumped a similar amount to $9 billion. Cyber Monday is projected to total between $10.8 to $11.4 billion, becoming the largest online shopping day in US history.

“While Covid-19, the elections and uncertainty around stimulus packages impacted consumer shopping behaviors and made this an unprecedented year in ecommerce, we expect to see continued, record-breaking ecommerce sales from now until Christmas,” said Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement late Monday.

That’s a sharp contrast to traffic at brick-and-mortar stores, which fell 52% on Black Friday compared to last year, according to a report from Sensormatic Solutions. Shopping traffic on Thanksgiving dropped by 95%, as many stores closed to give their employees time off and to avoid crowds.

The pandemic and social distancing led shoppers to be more “purposeful” with in-person shopping, and many made their purchases online instead, Brian Field Sensormatic’s senior director of global retail consulting, said in an earlier release. He predicts that people may head to stores on and after December 19 to do some last-minute holiday shopping.

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