Amazon Kindle Fire Burns Up iPad Sales Over Holidays

The 2011 holiday shopping season was very good to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, according to a research note to investors published Tuesday by investment research firm Morgan Keenan.

Despite a massive season of sales for the iPad 2, Apple is thought to have lost somewhere between one and two million iPad sales as a result of the Kindle Fire’s popularity surge and media ubiquity in the final weeks of the holiday shopping rush.

Apple, of course, is still expected to report record sales for the fourth quarter of 2011, but the Kindle Fire’s impact likely hindered what would have otherwise been a mostly competition-free shopping season for Apple’s touchscreen tablet.

“Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units this holiday season,” Morgan Keenan analyst Travis McCourt said in a note to investors, “which probably means maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most.”

Regardless, the iPad is still expected to account for 21.3% of all Apple revenue in the December quarter, which is significantly better than the iPad’s contribution of 17.2 percent of Apple’s revenue during the same quarter of 2010.

Does it now appear that the Kindle Fire is the first major competitor the iPad has encountered thus far?