July 29, 2016

Amazon Best Selling Lists: What Do They Tell Us?

Amazon
I thought it might be fun, or maybe instructive, to look at what is selling well on Amazon. The web site updates the lists every hour of every day, so what you would see today will be different from what I uncovered on a Wednesday morning in mid July. I am not sure what to conclude from what I found.

Here are some selected categories and the results of the top 20 sellers in each:


1) In the app store for Android. all but one of the best sellers are games. This was before the Pokemon Go craze but time-killing games totally dominate. Does this say something about smartphone use, how we spend free moments, or our need for distraction? 

2) In the books and comics category all but one are comics or kids' books. The lone exception is the NIV Bible. It has been awhile since I have visited a bookstore, but I wonder if the comic and graphic novel section reflects this interest.

3) In computers and accessories, all the top sellers are Kindles and Amazon's Echo. No laptops, desk computers, WiFi routers, or monitors are to be found in the top 20.

4) In the cameras and photo category four of the top 20 sellers are drones equipped with cameras. That is scary. 

5) In toys and games the top three are card games about kittens..exploding, imploding, and one that is so explicit it comes with a warning. Obviously, this is the latest fad that I have missed.  The sixth best selling game is called "Cards against Humanity, a game for horrible people."  Exploding kittens and a game for horrible human beings....does that say anything about where we are as a culture today?

6) And, the best seller in the home improvement category is a blue nightlight that lights up inside of your toilet when you raise the lid. Really?


I don't know how much I should conclude from this exercise. Apparently, a lot of folks have enough spare cash, or room on a credit card, to make whimsical or downright silly purchases. With more than half of Americans saying they would be unable to scrape together $1,000 for an emergency, high selling card games about deadly kittens and lighted toilet bowls indicates priority setting may be a bit off.

Maybe these purchases indicate an attempt to escape the steady drumbeat of bad news and political foolishness. For a nominal amount of money, retreating into a mindless game, reading a comic book, or flying a drone over someone's backyard could be a coping mechanism.

I will let others more qualified than me draw weighty conclusions from this sampling of our buying habits. But, I do look forward to your comments!


  

19 comments:

  1. Oh mercy Bob. I am with you all the way here. You have really found such an amazing commentary. It does shoot up some flags of concern... I think I am just going to dig into my hobbies more and try to avoid these obvious conclusions. A blue lighted toilet has never even crossed my mind---ever.

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    1. Drones with cameras flying around our neighborhoods? It is bad enough I have a neighbor who likes to fix motorcycles, but the constant buzzing of drones? Ugh.

      Yes, I though the toilet light was a joke, but someone is getting very rich.

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  2. I don't know what to think! I find this very surprising. It would be interesting to know the average age of these consumers. I'd be surprised to find any seniors buying an app that blows up kittens! Cards Against Humanity? I feel like I need to go take a shower!

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    1. Read the comment below for a little insight into the "Cards against Humanity" game.

      Suzanne probably is close to an answer for these odd lists: escaping a rather depressing reality. Even so, the millions of dollars spent on this stuff....?

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  3. Ha, ha, Malcolm and I play "Cards Against Humanity" with our adult daughter and my 87 year old MIL. It's hysterical. There are blank cards that you can fill in with your own answer. My MIL writes Obama on all of them! Bob, there is also a "naughty" version that you might like to play with Betty. :-)

    Seriously though. Reality sucks, especially right now and people are looking for diversions, or answers (hence the NIV Bible). I don't want to watch TV, or look at my FB feed because both are filled with sad, ignorant, garbage. It's depressing! Most of the things you listed are affordable, in comparison to vacations, new cars, tickets to ball games, etc. So, why not. Now, what to do today - read War and Peace or play Spider Solitaire!

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    1. I did read about the NSFW version of the Humanity game. I don't think I want to buy it, even if it is spicey. My grandkids are very inquisitive and find things around the house I'd forgotten we owned.

      Frankly, with the choice you have given me I'd choose Spider Solitaire. I have tried to read War and Peace a few times and given up.

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  4. Netflix always has a post on its webpage telling me "what's popular in your area." When I find out what movies others in my area area watching I feel as if I live among aliens.

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    1. Absolutely. What Netflix classifies as comedies or most popular reinforces my belief that Hollywood and movie theater operators are not my friends.

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  5. It is interesting what people will spend their money on. People on vacation are usually looser with their money than at other times. Some people will buy an expensive coffee as a treat and not worry about the cost. I'm usually pretty tight with money, but there a few areas of my life I will spend quite a bit of money.

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    1. I don't buy a $5 cup of coffee but I will splurge on a $13 hamburger at a nice restaurant. Go figure.

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    2. Bob, if the hamburger is a good one I'll be right over.

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  6. and you have to believe that Amazon doesn't play with the numbers to promote particular products....

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    1. It's possible, I guess, though I doubt anyone could pay them enough to risk getting caught. If fact, I just read they grossed $30 billion last quarter. That is a lot of blue toilet seat lights.

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  7. It's right up there with the Pet Rock, people have always bought silly things and nothing's changed.

    - David

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    1. Good point! At one point I owned two of them.

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  8. Ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . This is hilarious! What a fabulous post. Methinks you are also braver than I; I don't know that I would want to even keep track of what's best-selling on amazon. Too scary. Thanks for an entertaining moment that really gave me a good laugh.

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    1. You are welcome, Kathleen. In today's world, a good laugh helps.

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  9. The toilet light seems pretty practical to me. It helps us guy who raise the lid in two ways: 1)Its easier to aim and it reminds us to lower the lid when we are done. It is especially practical for me being deaf since I can't hear the water splashing. Don't knock it until you have thought it out. :)

    Question everything....

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    1. Try a 50 cent battery operated tea light on the toilet tank lid. It works well. I have thought it out and found a better solution. :)

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