Amazon Fire Stick tops Best Buy 2018 holiday bestsellers, ends year of dominance

6 months ago by James Mattone in Facts, Features

The end of the holiday season is here, as consumers are ready to ring in the New Year after spending billions on gifts around the world. Some of those gifts — especially ones that involve technology — came from Best Buy ($NYSE:BBY), the nation's largest retailer of consumer electronics.

Instead of listing the top products sold at Best Buy by aggregated sales rank data for that month, we've extended our parameters into the beginning of the holiday shopping season to get a better idea of what sold the most in the days leading up to Christmas.

And the list shows... That a lot of people want to make sure their new laptop, desktop, or smartphone has antivirus installed on it.

Out of 36 days of Best Buy sales rank data, Webroot ($WEBROOT) had an average sales rank of 9.4 over 30 days when it was sold. The item was delisted on December 25, but before then, it was a consistent top-15 performer as the holiday season began.

Amazon, Apple are consistent winners

Outside of security software, the hottest products of the 2018 holiday season were once again from Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL).

Topping the list once again was the Fire TV Stick, followed by the Echo Dot. Apple's AirPods ranked third, while Google ($NASDAQ:GOOG) snuck into fourth with its Chromecast.

(Due to listing data splitting products by URL, we've combined seperate Trend Micro Internet Security and Rocketfish HDMI listings into one average listing for each)

Name  Category Rank (Average) 
Amazon - Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote - Black  13.19
Amazon - Echo Dot (3rd Gen) - Charcoal  14.94
Apple - AirPods - White  16.42
Google - Chromecast (Latest Model) Streaming Media Player - Charcoal  18.11
Trend Micro Internet Security  (3-Device) (6 Month Subscription) - Android|Mac|Windows|iOS [Digital]  23.67
Rocketfish 4' 4K UltraHD/HDR HDMI Cable - Black  29.13
Amazon - Fire TV Stick 4K with All-New Alexa Voice Remote, Streaming Media Player - Black  30.61
Apple - Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Adapter - White  33.47
Samsung - 43\" Class - LED - NU6900 Series - 2160p - Smart - 4K UHD TV with HDR  33.50
Amazon - Echo Dot (2nd generation) - Smart Speaker with Alexa - Black  34.39
Best Buy - Total Tech Support Yearly Membership  40.28
Beats by Dr. Dre - Powerbeats³ Wireless - Black  45.11
Nintendo - Switch 32GB Console - Neon Red/Neon Blue Joy-Con  45.75
Roku - Streaming Stick with Voice Remote with TV Power and Volume - Black  46.58
Apple - iPad (Latest Model) with Wi-Fi - 32GB - Space Gray  50.86
Sanus - Premium Series Advanced Tilt TV Wall Mount For Most 42\" - 90\" TVs - Extends 5.75\" - Black  56.17
Apple - Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) 38mm Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band - Silver Aluminum  56.72
Fujifilm - instax mini Instant Color Film Twin Pack  58.75
Lenovo - 130-15AST 15.6\" Laptop - AMD A6-Series - 4GB Memory - AMD Radeon R4 - 500GB Hard Drive - Black  64.44
Ring - Video Doorbell 2 - Satin Nickel  64.72
Office Home & Student 2019 (1 Device) (Product Key Card) - Mac|Windows  69.50
SanDisk - Ultra PLUS 32GB SDHC UHS-I Memory Card  70.56
Ring - Video Doorbell Pro and Chime Pro Bundle  71.28
Red Dead Redemption 2 - PlayStation 4  73.00
Office 365 Personal — 1 Person — 12 Month Subscription — Auto Renew - Android|Mac|Windows|iOS  76.42
Amazon - Smart Plug - White  77.39
Google - Home Mini - Smart Speaker with Google Assistant - Chalk  77.50
Amazon - Fire - 7\ - Tablet - 8GB 7th Generation  79.72
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Nintendo Switch  80.69
Apple - iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi 128GB - Space Gray  86.22

How dominant was the Fire TV Stick this year? It has appeared as the standard #1 or #2 product in nearly all of our best-seller lists this past year, and when looking at 335 days of when we tracked this data in 2018, the Fire Stick had an average sales rank of about 12.579. Translation: it was one of the best-selling products of 2018.

During a year where cord cutting continued, and legacy media organizations started to build stock in streaming services, the consistent sales of the Fire TV Stick may be another sign that the cable era of broadcasting could face even more challenges in 2019.

2018 in Gaming

Those who follow the video game industry in any capacity know that there are three main players for hardware: Microsoft ($NASDAQ:MSFT) and the Xbox One, Sony ($YSE:SNE) and the PlayStation 4, and Soulja Boy... er... actually, Nintendo ($TYO:7974) and the Nintendo Switch.

Out of all three companies, Nintendo had the top ranked single best-selling console, as the standard Nintendo Switch bundle ranked 45.75 against all Best Buy products — read: the top-50 in a market with tens of thousands of products on sale every day — over 36 days.

Sony meanwhile had the best deal of the holiday season, as it had a killer PS4 and Spider-Man game bundle it only sold during Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend for 33% of the list price. That help the company boost sales at the largest electronics retailer in the world, as that bundle consistently ranked 9th out of all Best Buy products during the sale weekend.

And for Microsoft... 2018 was a year to forget for its Xbox One.

Its top product, an Xbox One S bundle that came with the blockbuster hit game Fortnite, is outside the top-50 products In the 2018 holiday season best-seller rankings list. The next best bundle it has, a console with the widely popular Minecraft, ranks inside the top 100, but had an average sales rank of 135.5 over 36 days.

In other words, there were more Switch and PS4 bundles ranked higher than Xbox console bundles during the holiday season, even when Xbox tried to bundle its consoles with the hottest games of the year.

According to a Strategy Analytics study, Nintendo is coming close to passing Microsoft in the number of consoles in use, and is projected to do so in 2019.

One saving grace for Microsoft is that the Xbox One is not their only piece of hardware that runs games... Because Windows is essential for PC gaming. Another is that this was, in the popular video game blog Kotaku's words, a "rebuilding year" for the Xbox One. Microsoft made several acquisitions of game studios and promised more exclusive games in the years to come...

But with the next-generation of consoles already on the horizon, Xbox might have lost the war of the Eighth Generation consoles to the PlayStation and Nintendo's Switch.

The saga of the Apple Dongle in 2018

Earlier this year, we reported how much Apple's Lightning-to-3.5mm Headphone Adapter was consistently one of the best-selling products at Best Buy (and understandably so, especially if you were like me and lost one or two of these things over the past year).

As we wind down heading into the new year, here's a full year look at the dongle in question:

Even with an interesting December, the headphone adapter never dipped below the top-80 products in terms of best-seller rank at Best Buy. Had it not been for Amazon's Fire Stick, the Dongle would probably be the most consistent best-selling product of 2018.

But there's always next year for Apple to come out swinging with its dongle.

Join the businesses who have begun to edge out competitors by scouring the web for “alternative” data.

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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