Amazon Puts Out Hollow Holiday Metrics

The crowning glory of Amazon’s just dropped post-Thanksgiving press missive — trumpeting apparently accelerating holiday sales — is the lack of any actual metrics.

“We’re excited that millions of customers will be opening new Amazon devices this holiday season. This has already been the biggest holiday shopping season for Amazon devices, and we’re energized by the year over year growth for all of our product categories,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices.

Full credit to Amazon’s devices SVP for sounding so energized. Thing is though, as per usual, there are no actual numbers in the press release. Pretty much the best you get is “millions of customers”. Which of course tells us zero. Nada. Zilch.

Or the “hundreds of thousands” of Kindles Amazon claims were bought over the weekend. Albeit the e-reader was first released waaaaay back in 2007, and is into its seventh gen iteration these days. So that’s ‘hundreds of thousands’ across scores of models, perhaps sold new or maybe also being recounted as clocked up used device sales via Amazon’s marketplace. We can but speculate.

Sure, Amazon might have collectively sold more hardware than it did last year, given it’s getting to define all its own measurement parameters and not telling us what they are.

It might even have had its “best ever shopping weekend” — especially as that phrase doesn’t really have a fixed meaning either.

And it might even be managing year over year growth in all its device categories. After all, the company did just execute a swift exit out of the smartphone category soon after its June 2014 foray into said category failed, resoundingly, to light buyers’ fires.

But without knowing exactly how many devices it winkled into customers’ hands in 2014 — perhaps at slashing discounts, as it ended up applying to clear inventory of its Firephone flop — then we really can’t draw any solid conclusions about the performance of Amazon hardware in 2015.

And that’s how Amazon likes it.

6x or 3x an unknown quantity isn’t a statement worth making. It isn’t even a statement. It’s an obfuscation.

Still, crafting a holiday momentum press release without including any actual metrics is an impressive, year over year performance in and of itself.

We’ve asked Amazon if it has any actual sales figures it would like to share and we’ll update this post with any response. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.