* Amazon: E-books trump physical book sales on Christmas
* Dec. 14 was peak day, over 9.5 mln items ordered
* Analyst says holiday online sales could rise above 5 pct
* Shares up 2 percent
(Adds analyst comment; updates share movement)
NEW YORK, Dec 28 Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) shares
rose on Monday after it posted strong growth in holiday season
orders and said its customers bought more e-books than physical
books for the first time ever on Christmas Day, thanks to its
hot-selling Kindle electronic book reader.
The U.S.-based Internet retailer said over the weekend its
Kindle reader had become the most-purchased gift in the
company's history. [ID:nBw265004a]
While Amazon does not disclose specific sales data for the
Kindle, it is believed to be the market leader among growing
competition from devices sold by Sony Corp (6758.T) and Barnes
& Noble (BKS.N).
With electronic readers one of the hottest selling items
over the holidays this year, the Kindle also gained ground as
both Barnes & Noble and Sony were unable to keep up with
demand. The two companies both sold out of their stock of
readers more than a month before Christmas.
The Kindle Store now includes more than 390,000 books,
Amazon said. The company also provided details on its holiday
season sales, saying that Dec. 14 was its peak shopping day
with more than 9.5 million items ordered worldwide.
On the peak day of the season, Amazon said it shipped more
than 7 million units.
Lazard Capital's Colin Sebastian called Amazon's holiday
performance "remarkable," and said Amazon's 51 percent growth
in peak-day items ordered and about 25 percent growth in
peak-day unit shipments pointed to further market share gains.
He raised his fourth-quarter revenue estimate on Amazon to
$9.35 billion from $9.09 billion to factor in the faster rate
of growth in items ordered versus units shipped, and stable
foreign exchange trends.
"The marketplace growth is likely driving better margins,"
he said in a note to clients.
Based on e-commerce checks during the holiday season,
Lazard sees online sales in the period rising by 5 percent or
slightly more industrywide, with mid-single-digit percentage
growth for 2010.
Sebastian maintained his "hold" rating on Amazon shares as
the current valuation "embeds significant revenue growth and
margin expansion over the coming years."
Amazon said its best-selling items over the holiday season
other than the Kindle included Apple's (AAPL.O) iPod Touch,
Nintendo's 7974.OS Wii Fit Plus with balance board, Sarah
Palin's book "Going Rogue" and men's Levi's 501 jeans.
Shares of Seattle-based Amazon were up $2.53 at $141.
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan, editing by Dave Zimmerman)