Tens of millions of customers took advantage of an Amazon Prime membership by either signing up for a free trial or purchasing a paid membership during the holiday season. The company said it sold millions more of its own devices, like the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick 4K, compared with a year ago.
Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant suffered service outages in Europe on Christmas Day, likely because of a flood of new users using the Alexa app. Amazon said that 2018 brought record sales for smart home devices, and the company's own Echo Dot smart speaker was one of the best-selling items.
Last year Alexa sparked controversy after the reports were submitted that an Alexa user was asked by the virtual assistant to kill the foster parents. Additionally, more customers signed up for Prime - ten of millions of new customers - either for a free trial or full membership; one billion items were then sent in the U.S. with Prime. The company said that the problem was present for nearly two hours.
Getting each one of those gadgets and different blessings to purchasers inside the one to two days was a coordinations challenge for conveyance administrations like FedEx Corp. what's more, United Parcel Service Inc. It delivered eight times as many reminders this year as it did last year, and it even provided three times as many recipes as it did last year.More news: Lampert's hedge fund says bid submitted to save Sears
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The couriers are bracing for a second wave of business as people begin returning gifts in January. Whole Foods Market, which was recently purchased by Amazon also did well, with the top Prime member deal being turkeys. The app's developer is listed as "One World Software".
Amazon's stock was up about 2 percent Wednesday. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 21.03%, versus a -9.20% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period. That extended to the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which also broke records, and Amazon's Ring and Blink, which sold more devices this year compared to other holiday seasons.
A week before Christmas, several of Amazon's online stores in North America and Europe sold out of various models of Alexa-powered devices, hinting at the surge in demand.