The company didn't offer many details but did say this past Cyber Monday was its biggest shopping day in history, surpassing last year's event.
The real story, however, isn't in the blockbuster days but in those that lie between. Amazon even has a cutesy name for the five-day stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday: "the Turkey 5." It introduced that name in a press release last year and continued it this year.
While it may seem silly at first blush, it reveals an evolution for the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. Amazon said customers purchased 180 million items over the five-day weekend — millions more than the same holiday weekend last year.
While Black Friday usually is considered the start of the holiday shopping season, Thanksgiving has largely replaced it online, with most steep discounts starting at midnight or even earlier.
Online sales grew 28% on Thanksgiving this year, according to Adobe Analytics, which takes data from 80 of the top 100 online retailers. Cyber Monday grew by a comparatively small 19%, suggesting that the distinction could one day disappear. Adobe estimates that $7.9 billion in online sales were made on Cyber Monday, compared with Black Friday's $6.2 billion.
But the rise of Thanksgiving isn't the only factor at play. The following Saturday and Sunday also set records, each growing at a rate of over 25% online — higher than the growth of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Adobe. Black Friday's online sales grew 23.6% this year.
The ease and growth of online shopping are morphing Cyber Monday and Black Friday into wildly different events than they have been in the past. Sales are now spread more throughout the days before and after the demarcated holidays, as are the deals being offered to customers.
The marquee sales days are likely to keep growing, but look for Thanksgiving and the following Saturday and Sunday to take a larger bite out of early holiday shopping each year, as we witness the rise of the Turkey 5.