updated 10:10 am EST, Thu December 29, 2011
Amazon says Kindle Fire led record holiday
Amazon celebrated another milestone for its hardware Thursday by claiming the "best holiday ever" for its Kindle line. It marked over four million combined sales of the Kindle Fire and Kindle line in December, including the regular touch and e-paper models. It wouldn't break down the shipments by the individual model and isn't expected to give its quarterly numbers.
The company reiterated that the lineup stayed at the top of its bestseller list, with the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and base Kindle in respective first, second, and third places. The Kindle Fire was the most gifted and wished for device in the US, and the non-touch Kindle was the bestseller in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, although it was conspicuously out of the lead in Canada.
Kindle e-book gifting was up 175 percent between the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas Day. Christmas was, as expected, the biggest day ever for downloads as both new Kindle owners and those with gift credit took advantage of the devices.
The sales tallies might cast some doubt on rumors of Amazon shipping five million Kindle Fires in the fall. With only six weeks of sales to work from and only some of the known four million being the Android tablet, the real sell-through would need to be significantly lower by necessity. Amazon could still claim second place in the tablet market given the poor turnout of fellow Android supporters, but it may not be as much as thought by some and won't be a significant threat to the iPad.
Amazon has never provided tangible shipment or sales numbers for any Kindle device beyond the one month. It ostensibly wants to protect a competitive advantage, but the silence has more often been interpreted as an attempt to avoid showing potentially disappointing results for any one model. Analysts are often left to making estimates to calculate market share.