Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it saw a surge in sales of its Kindle devices, helped by its new Kindle Fire tablet, on the crucial Black Friday shopping day after Thanksgiving.
Consumers bought four times as many Kindles on Black Friday as they did on the same day last year, when the company sold only e-readers, the largest Internet retailer reported.
The $199 Fire was the best-selling product on Amazon.com on Black Friday and it has been the top seller over the eight weeks since the tablet was launched, the company added.
We're seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles - one for themselves and others as gifts - we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season, said Dave Limp, vice president, Amazon Kindle.
Amazon shares were up 6.5 percent at $194.25 on Monday afternoon, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.4 percent.
If the 4x sales run-rate (vs. 2010) is representative for the entire fourth quarter, then we believe our current Kindle estimates could be conservative, Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays Capital, wrote in a note to investors.
Amazon sold about 3.4 million Kindle e-readers in the fourth quarter of 2010, DiClemente estimated. Data released on Monday by Amazon suggests the company may sell 13.6 million Kindle devices in this year's fourth quarter, the analyst noted.
DiClemente was previously forecasting Kindle sales of 11 million in the fourth quarter, which consisted of 4.5 million Kindle Fire tablets and 6.5 million other Kindle devices.
The new Kindle Fire is a crucial part of Amazon's effort to sell more digital products such as e-books, apps, video games, music and movies. The company is selling the tablet in more than 16,000 retail stores to try to get the device into as many hands as possible.
The Kindle Fire was the best-selling tablet in Target Corp stores on Black Friday, Nik Nayar, vice president of merchandising at Target, said in a statement.
Target sells several tablets, including the market-leading iPad from Apple Inc. Over Black Friday, Target offered a $75 gift card when customers bought an iPad 2 with 3G.
Goldman Sachs analysts visited stores run by Best Buy Co Inc and other retailers in recent days and found that Kindle products were very sharply outselling Nook devices from bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc.
At stores run by Barnes & Noble, interest in the Nook was robust, but the Goldman analysts said extra distribution to other retail stores was having less impact than expected.
Now Amazon has a more competitive suite of hardware, its hardware share should increase, and its ebook share should follow, the analysts wrote in a note to investors on Monday.
Barnes & Noble shares were up 7.3 percent at $17.25 on Monday afternoon.
(Reporting by Alistair Barr; editing by Dave Zimmerman, Andre Grenon and Matthew Lewis)