Your Holiday By The Silly And Surreal E-Commerce Numbers

Quantifying holiday cheer: 673,000 Beatles playlists, one box of Stove Top stuffing, and a 20-fold search increase for “return policy.”

Your Holiday By The Silly And Surreal E-Commerce Numbers
[Photo: Flickr user Alex Beattie]

Christmas is over and that means it’s time for online businesses to celebrate, or at least crow a little bit.


Amazon shipped to 185 different countries this holiday, and announced that “three million new members worldwide joined Prime during the third week of December alone.”

“Play music” was the biggest request of the holiday season for people who use Amazon’s voice-controlled robot, Alexa. Its Prime Now service, which promises two-hour deliveries directly to your door, was working right up until 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve. That final delivery, in San Antonio, included dog treats, Stove Top Stuffing Mix, a Moleskine notebook, a Fire tablet, and a Lego Star Wars Death Star Final Duel Building Kit.

Spotify released the full catalog of Beatles tunes for streaming, for the first time, on December 24. Songs by the Fab Four were added to more than 673,000 playlists in the two days after the release, reports Billboard. And “Come Together” was the most-played song by The Beatles on Spotify–but still, they got nothing on Bieber.

It was an extremely merry Christmas for J.J. Abrams, whose film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, had the biggest Christmas Day box office in history, $49.3 million. It also became the fastest movie to make $1 billion at the box office.

MasterCard Advisors talked to CNBC, the Chicago Sun-Times, MarketWatch, and a host of other outlets to proclaim that furniture sales increased by double digits this year, and online sales grew 20% versus the Black Friday to Christmas Eve season last year.

But not everything is shiny and bright. Searches for “return policy” increased by 20-fold on the Sunday after Christmas, according to Google Trends.


Nearly a quarter of all e-commerce sales, an original retail value of $19.4 billion, are expected to be returned, Shorr Packaging told the Wall Street Journal. The biggest culprit? Surprisingly, not those incendiary “hoverboards”–just the ubiquity of free return shipping.

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I'm the executive editor of Fast Company and Co.Design.