Every item at Amazon.com is tracked in terms of its relative popularity in its given category. For each sale, it moves up in rank relative to other items over time. If it sells consistently, it makes its way to Amazon's top-100 sales ranks in a given category, which further accelerates its sales as it is listed as a best seller. It's an engine of sales perpetual motion that e-commerce marketers worship in the same way that content creators see Google and Facebook suggestion algorithms.
Algorithmic mysticism aside, we took a look at 2019's best sellers by sales rank at Amazon to uncover at least a little understanding both of what sold the most, and of what Amazon was pushing the hardest. We took a look at Amazon sales-rank data throughout 2019 to determine what products sold the best, consistently. Here's what we found.
Best-selling product of the year: Minecraft
For virtually every day in 2019, Minecraft sat in the #1 sales-rank spot at Amazon's "Apps & Games" category. Not any other product — not even paper towels — can claim that for the entire year, its average sales rank was #1. Geometry dash came in a somewhat distant second with an average sales rank of 2.45 in 2019.
Best-selling Appliance: Conair 1875 Watt Full Size Pro Hair Dryer with Ionic Conditioning
GE makes a lot of refrigerators, many of which have in-door water dispensers. Those water dispensers use filters, which must be replaced. Amazon is, apparently, the place to go when one needs to replace their filter because, with an average sales rank of 1.003 across 263 days in 2019, this was the most popular item sold in Amazon's "Appliance" category. As for the best-selling stand-alone appliance that plugs in, that goes to the Conair 1875 Watt Full Size Pro Hair Dryer with Ionic Conditioning which ranked an average of 6.5 across 246 days in 2019.
Best-selling electronic: Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player
It comes as little surprise that Amazon's own Fire TV Stick streaming device was the best seller in the Electronics category at Amazon. Across 215 days, the $29 device ranked an average of 1.88 out of the top-100 sellers in 2019. The 4K version of the same device — the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, streaming media player - came in second with an average sales rank of 1.91 across 212 days. Amazon is known for pushing its own products, so we fully expect this trend to continue in 2020.
Best-selling Prime Pantry item: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, Crispy Marshmallow Squares, Original, Value Pack, 0.78 oz Bars (16 Count)
Office managers regularly turn to Amazon Prime Pantry for their office snacks, and it looks as though these sugary favorites sold best across all Prime Pantry items. They scored an average sales rank of 2.36 across 231 days in 2019, beating out Nestle Pure Life Purified Water, 16.9 fl oz. Plastic Bottles (12 count), which ranked an average of 3.9 across 278 days.
Best selling "Camera & Photo": Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film Value Pack - (60 Total Pictures)(Package may vary)
If there was any question that retro photography is still in vogue, this bit of data will end any and all questions. Across all items for sale in Amazon's "Camera & Photo" category, the Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film Value Pack averaged a 2.2 sales rank for 224 days in 2019. The film, which goes for $35 for the pack, sells for nearly as much as the $50 camera one uses it in. Take note, Kodak.
Best-selling record: Look Up Child - Lauren Daigle
For 280 days throughout 2019, Lauren Daigle's "Look Up Child" averaged an Amazon sales rank of 8.7 out of 100, making it the most consistent best-seller in the site's "CDs & Vinyl" category. It's not necessarily a new release, either: it was released in September 2018.
Best-selling Magazine Subscription: Matha Stewart Living
People still buy magazine subscriptions, and of those magazine subscriptions, they're buying Martha Stewart Living. In 2019, this magazine charted an average of 8.8 for 288. Of course, it doesn't hurt that one can subscribe to the magazine for just $5.49 for an entire year.
Best-selling Software: Microsoft Office 365 Home | 12-month subscription, up to 6 people, PC/Mac Download
If there's one software suite just about everyone needs, it's Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Across 278 days in 2019, this 12-month subscription averaged a sales rank of just 9.1 across Amazon's Software category.
Best-selling Game: Jenga
Breaking news: some people don't already have Jenga. That's because, within Amazon's "Toys & Games" category, Jenga Classic averaged a sales rank of just 9.8 across 263 days, making it the best selling item in that category overall (even beating out Baby Yoda, who had a late start).
Best-selling book: Educated: A Memoir
Amazon got its start in the 1990s as an online bookseller. And, yes, people still buy books. In 2019, the book that sold the best was Educated: A Memoir. This memoir by Tara Westhower was also a New York Times bestseller and Barack Obama's favorite book of the year. As a result, it averaged 11.8 out of 100 for 278 days in the past year.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.