You'd think that in 2015 — a year in which virtual reality, autonomous cars, and personal drones were major stories — all the holiday gifts people are buying through the world's top digital storefront would be, you know, high tech. But that's not entirely the case. This morning, Amazon released a ton of details on how its holiday sales went this year, and it turns out that some of its best sellers are a bit anachronistic: its top-selling camera item is a pack of film, and its top-selling home audio product is a turntable.
Instant film beat out a GoPro
Specifically, Amazon says its top camera item was a 20-shot pack of instant film from Fuji, designed to work with its Instax Mini cameras. The film costs around $20 for the pack, while the cameras that use it — one of which currently sits in fourth on Amazon's list of top sellers in photography — go for around $70. Amazon's top-selling home audio item was a cheap turntable from Jensen with built-in speakers. It includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB port, and software for turning records into MP3s. It's currently selling for around $50.
Is it weird that cheap analog products beat out modern alternatives? Kind of. But as someone who ordered a physical book and a pack of film just yesterday, none of this seems too hard to explain away. Jensen's turntable is a low-cost way to get someone started with vinyl, which is growing in popularity right now very much because of its analog and anachronistic qualities; plus, with built-in speakers, there's no need for a full stereo setup alongside it, either. And while I'm surprised to hear that Fuji's Instax Mini line has such a following, it's worth remembering that these products have a lot less competition than any individual digital camera or home speaker — since there are fewer products to pick between, the ones that do exist are going to capture more sales.
Of course, most of Amazon's top sellers aren't so unexpected. Its second and third best-selling item in cameras are a GoPro and a GoPro head strap, and its next two best sellers in home audio are a receiver with built-in support for Apple's AirPlay streaming and a two-pack of Sonos speakers. That's a lot more in line with what you'd expect people to buy on Amazon — even if a GoPro head strap still seems like an odd third place.
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