According to MediaRadar, Amazon outspent just about all of their competitors in October and November, spending $135 million on TV spots, leading up to the busy holiday season. They outspent Walmart by about $16 million and were $32 million ahead of Target during the same time frame. This is something that is very new for Amazon. In past years, they did not advertise much on television, if at all. But that changed this year, and a big reason for that is due to their own hardware. They have been advertising their set-top boxes, tablets and even speakers during the holiday season. With their TV ads being big on Alexa, especially with the Echo Dot. It's pretty clear as to why Amazon believed the Echo Dot would be their top seller, and that's due to the price (normally $49, but was dropped to just $39 for the holiday season).
Another interesting number is that in 2011, Amazon spent $156 million on ads for the entire year. And that was not limited to just TV ads, that included ads you see on your favorite website, billboards and other forms of advertising. Their $135 million for October and November of this year was solely for TV ads. That's a pretty big increase for Amazon. In fact, it's a 76% increase from the same time in 2015. By contrast, Walmart's numbers were down 10% and Target's were up 54%.
Based on the numbers that Amazon released earlier this week, it's clear that all this money spent on TV advertising has worked out well for the retailer. Amazon announced that they shipped over a billion items through Amazon Prime – which means there was likely a whole lot more shipped by Amazon altogether. Additionally, the Amazon Echo Dot was their overall top-seller during the season. A product that was the star of many of their ads through October and November. This kind of spending likely continued into December, however since December is not yet over, MediaRadar does not have any information on what Amazon spent during December. Amazon will likely continue spending a ton of cash on TV ads, especially as they grow their own product portfolio, largely thanks to Alexa being such a huge hit.