Kindles hit ‘record’ but iPads crush holiday sales

The iPad Air saw soaraway sales over Thanksgiving.

Amazon’s press releases reached a new high of inscrutability this week with an announcement (of sorts) that it hit record sales for its Kindle devices over the Thanksgiving weekend but it was the iPad that took the tablet holiday honours.

Amazon has never revealed sales figures for its Kindle e-readers and tablets and estimates vary wildly, with some research firms reckoning that last year there were around 17 million people using Kindles in the US and 4 million in the UK. Third-party estimates for this year forecast sales at about 10 million.

Apple, which is a bit more forthcoming with sales statistics, revealed in October that it had sold a staggering overall total of 170 million iPads since its introduction and that figure must be much closer to the 200 million mark after stellar sales over Thanksgiving.

The iPad range was a big winner at Target and Wal-Mart which both dropped the Kindle from their branches this year after Amazon encouraged “showrooming” where customers would pop along to their local stores to get a feel of the product and then order it online from Amazon.

Over Thanksgiving, iPad sales led the way at Target, where the three biggest sellers were the 16Gb iPad Air (first), 16Gb iPad Mini (second) and the 32Gb iPad Air. Top seller at Wal-Mart was the 16Gb iPad Mini. Microsoft’s Surface tablet was the winner at BestBuy, pushing the 16Gb iPad 2 into second place.

Amazon probably isn’t too concerned about trailing in the tablet league tables as it’s reckoned to make a loss on selling hardware in order to pick up long-term business from selling ebooks, etc, although that does, of course, depend on the hordes of iPad buyers installing the Kindle app on their tablets.

In case you’re interested in how not to write a press release, I’ve included the first two paragraphs of the Amazon notice below, there were a couple of further paragraphs but I couldn’t bring myself to add them in.

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Amazon today announced that this holiday shopping weekend was the best ever for Kindle, with customers purchasing more Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers than ever before. Additionally, Kindle Fire HDX 7” and Kindle Fire HD were the best-selling items on this holiday shopping weekend.

“We’re excited that so many customers have chosen Kindle this holiday season—and it’s just getting started!” said Neil Lindsay, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Our new Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers are the best we’ve ever built, and we can’t wait for customers to unwrap their gifts this holiday.”