Just like last year, Amazon is reporting that the 2013 shopping season was its biggest yet, not just in terms of its sales, but also with its services. The company announced today that on Cyber Monday alone, more than 36.8 million items were ordered worldwide, up from last year's 26.5 million items — that's about 426 items purchased per second. Amazon Prime broke records as well, gaining more than 1 million new members in the third week of December.
Kindles and Kindle Fire tablets topped Amazon's bestseller charts, with most sales coming over the Cyber Monday weekend. Once again, Amazon held back on the hard numbers for those sales, but even without much-needed context, it is clear that Amazon isn't suffering when it comes to its tablet devices. Also, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, both of which were released close to Black Friday, saw sales of about 1,000 units per minute at their peak.
Amazon Prime gained more than 1 million new members in one week
Prime stood out in Amazon's sales figures. Reports earlier this year estimated the service's membership at 10 million, although no official numbers have been released. In addition, the Prime Instant Video catalog grew from 33,000 to about 40,000 movies and TV episodes in 2013, with Amazon getting exclusive rights to shows like Downton Abbey and Justified. The company has spent much of this year trying to catch up to Netflix, releasing over a dozen pilots to test the waters for its own original series. While it hasn't produced anything as critically acclaimed as Netflix's House of Cards, its political comedy series Alpha House has received favorable reviews over its first season.
Amazon periodically limited new prime memberships to avoid service issues for current members, but unfortunately some customers still didn't receive all gifts on time for the holidays. The UPS shipping debacle affected many retailers, including Amazon, and while some reports suggest that there are only a small number of unlucky customers, Amazon will be refunding shipping charges and offering a $20 gift card to all its affected customers.