- Amazon announced that customers can now use its Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant software to shop for toys available through Amazon Prime, a launch timed with the release of the e-commerce kingpin's 2016 Holiday Toy List.
- In addition to compiling 1,000 of the hottest toys for the holidays, the 2016 Holiday Toy List includes videos that highlight the must-have products in each category.
- Amazon also reported that during the 2015 holiday season, almost 70% of its website customers shopped using a mobile device, and that the number of consumers shopping on its mobile application more than doubled.
Amazon is all-in for the holidays. No surprise there, as the company has made a habit of layering the season with deal promotions of every kind, new products lineups and new customer support features, all crammed into a single season. This announcement comes just after Amazon announced it would hire 120,000 seasonal employees for the holidays after hiring about 100,000 during last year's season. By comparison, Target said it will hire 75,000 seasonal employees for this year's holiday stretch. Yeah, Amazon isn't messing around.
There appears to be good reason for Amazon to be so confident about its preparations. Deloitte research suggested that e-commerce sales for the period of November to January could jump by as much as 19%, roughly double the increases the research firm forecasted for the holidays a year ago.
Amazon's move to allow Alexa to do your toy shopping also is not too much of a surprise, given that Amazon has been gradually expanding Alexa's to-do list for some time already. Amazon also just last week rolled out a big "Alexa moments" ad campaign, so this announcement may be the other shoe dropping after the ads primed us for something to happen.
It will be interesting to see how heavily parents use the Alexa to do their holiday toy shopping. As a parent of a almost four-year-old twins, Retail Dive knows you have to find a few minutes here and there any given day during the holiday season to steal away with your laptop, tablet or phone to buy some presents. Alexa could make it easy to shop for toys while you are making dinner or something, but if you tell Alexa out loud to purchase a Paw Patrol Paw Patroller and Disney Frozen Deluxe Toddler Anna and Elsa Dolls, the kids would come running from the other room and the secret would be out — you know, that Alexa is the real Santa Claus.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2016 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page for more stories.