Retailers, consumers and prices
Something about returning from the Christmas holidays makes people want to show off what they received – a new sweater donned, a new gadget subtly pulled out at meetings, a few extra pounds padding the belly.
Jeff Bezos doesn't like this tradition. He will hint at the generous present that consumers gave to Amazon in the form of surprisingly strong sales, but he won't offer details.
Bezos wants you to know that his Kindle – the e-book reader that has done a remarkably good job surviving in the age of the iPad – was Amazon's “bestselling product of all time.” How many Kindles did Amazon sell? We don't know because Amazon isn't saying.
What Amazon does say is that the third generation of the Kindle surpassed even the number of Harry Potter 7 books it sold. Which is kind of disingenuous because Kindles are sold primarily through Amazon, while Harry Potter books are available in nearly every bookstore. But it does offer a hint: Some 5 million copies of Harry Potter have sold on Amazon since 2007, one analyst estimates.
eBay said Wednesday that the value of goods sold in the U.S. through its mobile applications surged 133% to $100 million during the month before Christmas. Globally, the growth was even stronger: Up 166% to $230 million worth of goods.
That is good news from one angle. eBay is having success using mobile devices to sell goods during the busiest retailing period of the year. But it obscures another fact: Mobile sales may be a growing market, but it's a tiny portion of eBay's overall sales. And overall sales don't appear to be growing nearly as fast.
Sprinkled among the snaking lines of parents at a Toys R Us in New Jersey on Black Friday were diehard gamers. Many had no children to spoil. Nor were they particularly happy to be in the Toys R Us; but with gaming hardware fast selling out across the region, they followed the scent of the deal.
The Kinect moved especially fast, if early anecdotal evidence is any measure. Brisk sales of hardware like the PlayStation3, Xbox and Microsoft Kinect on the nation's biggest annual shopping spree also bode well for software sales, says Mike Hickey, a Janco Partners analyst.
Spotted at New York Fashion Week: Butterflies and hummingbirds hovered inside the tents, but these particular species came equipped with at least a gigabyte or two.
Designer Vivienne Tam’s“Butterfly Lovers” digital clutch laptop from Hewlett-Packard made its debut on the runway with her Spring and Summer 2010 collection. Just inside the entrance to the Bryant Park Tents, a hummingbird was ready for its close-up — on the cover of one of the Palm Pixi Artist Series limited-edition cellphones on display.
In its most obvious cameo, technology showed up at Vivienne Tam’s Spring 2009 show on Tuesday, where models sashayed down the runway clutching slim, red HP notebook computers instead of evening bags.