Posted on Monday, Feb 8th 2021
According to a
recent report from eMarketer, despite a challenging year for retail in 2020, worldwide retail e-commerce sales grew 28% with sales exceeding $4 trillion. Total worldwide retail sales declined by 3% during the year and economies worldwide are facing recessionary conditions. But the pandemic and lockdown conditions have accelerated the spread of e-commerce. Growth is expected to continue even in 2021, albeit at a slower pace. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently reported its fourth quarter results that clearly benefitted from this growth. Amazon’s Financials
Amazon’s fourth quarter revenues grew 44% to $125.56 billion, ahead of the market’s forecast of $119.7 billion. Net income of $14.09 per share was significantly higher than the Street’s forecast of $7.23 per share.
By segment, net product sales grew 13.1% to $57.1 billion and net service sales increased 47.7% to $54.5 billion.
North American sales grew 40.4% to $53.7 billion, while international sales grew 57.3% to $37.5 billion.
Amazon ended the year with revenues growing 38% to $386.1 billion. Net income increased to $21.3 billion, or $41.83 per share, compared with net income of $11.6 billion, or $23.01 per share a year ago.
Amazon expects first quarter revenues of $100-$106 billion with an operating income of $3-$6.5 billion.
Amazon’s Product Upgrades
During the quarter, AWS announced two smaller new outposts form factors, 1U and 2U servers that provide customers with access to AWS on-premises in small locations, such as branch offices, factories, hospitals, cell towers, and retail stores. It also announced the general availability of its product EC2 P4d instances, accelerated computing instances that are powered by NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and AWS petabyte-scale networking. It provides up to 3x faster training time and is 60% less expensive than the previous generation instances for machine learning training and high performance computing in the cloud.
In hardware, Amazon announced the general availability of Ring’s Mailbox Sensor. It also launched customizable motion zones for all of its battery-powered video doorbells and security cameras. Ring’s geographical presence is also growing as Amazon announced the availability of the Ring Alarm in Spain.
For Alexa, Amazon announced its first Alexa built-in commercial trucking integration for Volvo Trucks in the EU, the BMW and MINI cars in Brazil, and several new vehicle launches in other countries. Amazon added bilingual capability to Alexa, allowing users to interact with it in two different languages, without having to change the settings. For the US, the new mode allows users to switch with a code from English to Spanish. It also launched the mode in several other languages and countries, such as Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Japan.
The current pandemic has accelerated the transition to online shopping for the world. Despite its issues, the 2020 holiday season was the best ever for independent businesses selling on Amazon. These independent businesses are mostly small and medium-sized ones and their worldwide sales grew more than 50% over the year. Sellers surpassed $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, growing about 60%. During the holiday season, the SMB businesses in the US sold nearly one billion products on Amazon’s store.
Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has been investing in its SMB focused offerings. It has increased square footage across its fulfillment and logistics network by 50% and dedicated 60% of fulfillment center capacity to seller products. It also postponed annual selling fee adjustments until June 2021. It launched small business accelerator programs across Europe to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. These programs offer free access to online training, expert advice, live events, and services. In December, Amazon India hosted Small Business Day, an event focused on increasing visibility and sales for entrepreneurs and small businesses selling on Amazon’s store. Over 55,000 sellers from over 4,000 Postal Index Codes in India benefitted from this event.
Last quarter, Amazon also launched its Pharmacy in the US. Amazon Pharmacy will bring prescription medications to customers’ doorsteps. Customers can now browse medications, create a secure pharmacy profile, and request or manage prescriptions on Amazon.com. It also launched a new Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit that brings pharmacy savings to customers who pay without insurance. These savings can be used at 50,000 participating pharmacies nationwide.
In a surprising announcement, Jeff Bezos announced plans of transitioning to the role of Executive Chair this year. Long-term Amazon veteran Andy Jassy will step in as the CEO. The most pressing question for Amazon is how will Andy run Amazon?
Andy comes with a background in cloud computing, and as an employee that built and ran AWS, and with comparatively limited exposure to retail. Some had expected another Amazon long-timer Jeff Wilke to get the position. Jeff had been in charge of running the retail segment – which accounted for over 40% of the quarter’s revenues. Jeff announced that he would be leaving the company, probably on account of him not getting the coveted position.
Andy will need a trusted advisor in the driver seat of Amazon’s retail. While Amazon may be doing spectacularly in revenue growth, there are pockets of concerns. Shoppers are worried about fake reviews that promote shoddy products, and there is the question of expansion into new and existing geographies while managing competition and legal regulations. The recent pandemic may have driven Amazon’s shopping volumes up, but it has also exposed tough working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses and Amazon’s stand on unionization and worker rights.
Also, with Bezos remaining in an executive position, he may continue to wield a lot of influence. Andy definitely has big shoes to fill. It will be interesting to see just how well he is able to take up the new position.
Amazon’s stock is trading at $3,352.15 with a market capitalization of $1.7 trillion. It had touched a 52-week high of $3,552.25 in August last year. It had fallen to a 52-week low of $1,626.03 in March last year.
Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations, and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research of product-market fit, channel execution, and other factors. My primary interest is in product strategy. While this may have bearing on stock movements, my writings tend to focus on long-term implications. The information presented is illustrative and educational, but should not be regarded as a complete analysis nor recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. I am not a registered investment adviser and I am not receiving compensation for this article. I am an investor in this company. Photo Credit: simone.brunozzi /Flickr.com This segment is a part in the series : Cloud Stocks . Smartsheet Acquiring Bootstrapped Startups to Drive Growth . Bootstrapped Unicorn Atlassian is Acquiring Capital Efficient Startups . Netflix Price Hike Ruffles Competition . 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Tenable Expands Into Industrial Cyber-Security . ServiceNow Expands Ties with Zoom . Cloudera Powers its Data Platform with Partnerships . Atlassian Continues to Acquire from PaaS Ecosystem . Shopify Soars to an All-Time High . The PaaS Landscape . HubSpot Focuses on the Enterprise Segment . GoDaddy Restructures During COVID . Akamai's Security Solutions Thriving . BlackLine Needs a PaaS Strategy . Twilio - A Successful PaaS Story . Zendesk Invests in the Future . Qualys Continues to Acquire Indian Startups . ZoomInfo Lists Despite COVID-19 . Analysis of Alteryx PaaS Strategy . Fastly Needs to Diversify from TikTok . Way to Go, Salesforce . Intuit Continues to Acquire . VMware Continues Buying Spree . Analysis of Five9's PaaS Strategy . Okta Expands Alliances to Attract Enterprises . Palo Alto Continues to Acquire . Analysis of Splunk's PaaS Strategy . BigCommerce Goes Big with IPO . Analysis of Workday's PaaS Strategy . Analysis of Anaplan's PaaS Strategy . 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Lemonade and Root Disrupting the Insurance Industry . The Key to PagerDuty's API Strategy . CrowdStrike Gears up to Tackle Security Breach Concerns . Everbridge Widens Products and Partnerships . Cornerstone OnDemand Expands Product Line-up . Alarm.com Expands Products to Address Competition . Sumo Logic's IPO Going Strong . Cloudera Grows Through Acquisition . IBM Trying and Failing to Reignite Growth . Box Knows it's All About PaaS . Bill.com Focuses on Mobile and AI . DocuSign Leverages AI in Product Innovation . Atlassian Makes over $100M in PaaS in 2020 . PaaS Strategy Makes Unity IPO Soar . ON24 Goes Public with $42B TAM as Covid Puts Webinars and Virtual Events Front and Center . Amazon After Jeff Bezos . ServiceNow Firing on All Cylinders But One . Snowflake Focuses on Developer Community for Growth . Is SAP Acquiring Alteryx? . Qualys Focuses on SaaS App Security . SurveyMonkey Remains Focused on APIs, ISV PaaS Still Missing . Domo Needs to Open up About PaaS Metrics . Like Wix, GoDaddy Needs to Focus on PaaS . Datadog on an Acquisition Spree . Twilio Soars, Focuses on Social Initiatives . HubSpot Expands Content Offering Through Acquisition . Zendesk Adds Products, While Freshdesk Keeps Acquiring . Shopify and BigCommerce Building API-based Ecosystems . RingCentral Acquires and Adds Partners, But PaaS is Still Missing . Acquisitions and Product Upgrades are the Mantra for Palo Alto Networks . Salesforce can Transform Slack PaaS, But Acquisition Still Pending . After Acquisitions, Five9 Focuses on Channel and Network Partnerships . Workday Drives Enterprise Use Cases Through PaaS, as Anaplan Taps Into Consultants . C3.ai Should Do ISV Focused PaaS . Splunk on the Right Track with Cloud and PaaS . Veeva Sets an Example, Transitions to a Public Benefit Corporation . BlackLine is Targeting A/R Automation Market . Okta Targets $25B Customer Identity Market with Acquisition . Teradata Trying to Reinvent Itself on the Cloud . Dropbox Acquires, But Competition Remains Stiff . Smartsheet Focuses on Partners, and not on ISVs . MongoDB has Huge Room to Grow in $97B Market . Cloud and Platform Expansion Continues at Nutanix . Rapid7 Targets $1B ARR by 2025 . DocuSign Exploring Unprecedented Digital Signature Offerings . Tenable Continues its Acquisition Spree . SolarWinds Attack Driving Zscaler's Stellar Performance . Zoom Should Report Developer Ecosystem Metrics . DigitalOcean Goes Public with a Strong ISV PaaS Strategy . Dynatrace Competing with Rivals by Simplifying DevOps . Talend Becomes a Private Firm, Once Again . Everbridge Focuses on the Government Sector . Analysis of Fastly’s Signal Sciences Acquisition . Cloudera Focuses on Machine Learning for Verticals . Medallia Acquires to Expand Digital Experience Analytics . PagerDuty Sees Market Expand Beyond ITOps . Bill.com Expanding Payment Offerings for Small Businesses . Alarm.com's Product and Partner Portfolio Helps Address Competition . Sumo Logic Counts on Acquisition and Product Upgrades . Analysis of Crowdstrike’s Humio Acquisition . IBM's Transition to a Hybrid Cloud and AI Company . Analysis of Box's Acquisition of SignRequest . ON24 Should Look at Consolidating MarTech SaaS . Snowflake Exploring AI for Data Warehousing Capabilities . Unity Software Focuses on Digital Marketing with RestAR Acquisition . Tuya Counts on PaaS for Growth Within IoT . ServiceNow Continues to Acquire, Partner, and Integrate . Atlassian Expands Beyond IT Teams to Enterprise-Wide Offerings . Google's Growth Continues Despite Regulatory Concerns . Analysis of Microsoft's Acquisition of Nuance . Amazon's Ad Revenue on the Rise . Alteryx Focuses on the User and Partner Community . Qualys Expands Endpoint Security Offerings . SurveyMonkey Investing in AI and ML Tools . GoDaddy Expands Registry Catalog . Wix Goes on an Acquisition Spree . Analysis of Twilio's Zipwhip Acquisition . HubSpot's PaaS Ecosystem Revenues Expected to Grow Rapidly . Zendesk's Products Help Increase Average Deal Size . Shopify Focuses on Social Commerce . Pure Storage Expansion into Hybrid Cloud Fueled by Portworx Acquisition . Salesforce Leverages Mulesoft and Tableau Acquisitions Successfully . Workday Gearing up for Post Pandemic IT Spend Increase . Veeva Pushing Forth to $3 Billion by 2025 . Anaplan Expands Vertical Offerings . Analysis of Palo Alto's Bridgeview Acquisition . Nutanix Expands Government Vertical Offerings . Okta Expanding Government Sector Capabilities . Analysis of Splunk's TruStar Acquisition . Smartsheet Remains Focused on Integrations . Five9's Partnerships Translating to Product Innovations . DocuSign Sees Digital Signature Trends Here to Stay . Market Leader Tenable Leverages Acquisitions for Growth . Analysis of Zscaler's Recent Two Acquisitions . Analysis of Rapid7's Velocidex Acquisition . Dropbox Expands in International eSignature Market . MongoDB Rides High on Five Years of Atlas . RingCentral Leverages Partnerships for Growth . BlackLine Remains Focused on SAP . ON24 Expands Marketing Offerings . Analysis of Magnite's Spot X Acquisition . PagerDuty Focuses on Integrations . Analysis of Bill.com's Divvy Acquisition . C3.ai Doubles Down on Partnerships . Analysis of Coupa's Pana Acquisition . BigCommerce Eyes a Bigger Marketshare Through Walmart Tie-up . Analysis of Everbridge's xMatters Acquisition . Adobe's Digital Solutions Drive Stellar Growth . CrowdStrike Leads in Endpoint Security Through Tie-ups . Snowflake Focuses on Expanded Partner Program to Drive Growth . Analysis of Sumo Logic's Sensu Acquisition . Dynatrace Counts on AI to Continue its Market Leadership . Analysis of IBM's Waeg Acquisition . Tuya Focuses on Smart Product Distribution . Appian Strengthens AI Offerings . Analysis of Zoom's Five9 Acquisition . Google's Offerings Help Drive Partner Revenue Growth . ServiceNow's Entire Portfolio is Booming . How can Atlassian Amplify its Robust Growth? . Analysis of Microsoft's Three More Acquisitions After Nuance . Twilio Focuses on Customer Engagement . Analysis of Amazon's MGM Acquisition . Guidewire Focuses on Building its Partner Network . Momentive, Formerly SurveyMonkey, Adds Analytics to Offerings . Zendesk Should Look at Acquisitions . HubSpot Continues to Grow its App Marketplace . Is Alteryx Being Acquired? . Shopify Continues to Woo Developers . DigitalOcean Expands Partnership with MongoDB . Analysis of Qualys' TotalCloud Acquisition . Pure Storage Experimenting with Pricing Models . Palo Alto Networks Expands Security Capabilities . RingCentral Cashing in on the Hybrid Work Environment . Splunk Tackles Decelerating Growth with Product Upgrades . MongoDB's Atlas Capabilities Expand to the Government Sector . Analysis of Bill.com's Invoice2Go Acquisition . DocuSign Banks on Agreement Cloud . Smartsheet's Expanding Use Cases . Analysis of Salesforce's Servicetrace Acquisition . Zscaler Focuses on Federal Agencies . Coupa Launches PaaS Strategy . Analysis of BlackLine’s Kyriba Partnership . PagerDuty's Expanding Integration Portfolio . Analysis of Tenable's Accurics Acquisition . Upstart’s Improving AI Algorithm in FinTech Consumer Lending . Analysis of C3.ai's Growing Partnerships . Analysis of Veeva's Learnaboutgmp Acquisition . Analysis of Adobe's Frame.io Acquisition . Snowflake Focuses on the Financial Services Sector . CrowdStrike Expands Government Offerings . Zoom Focuses on Expanding Reseller Offerings . Dropbox Focuses on Content Creators with New Product . Analysis of Okta's atSpoke Acquisition . Sumo Logic Leverages Red Hat Marketplace . Analysis of Dynatrace's SpectX Acquisition . Tuya Prepares to Address the Chip Shortage . Analysis of Appian's Lana Labs Acquisition . Analysis of Qualtrics's $1.125B Clarabridge Acquisition . Fastly Addresses Latency Issues for Developers . Alarm.com Leverages AI for Growth . Analysis of IBM's Rego Acquisition . Analysis of Unity's Parsec Acquisition . UiPath Envisions Advanced ML Capabilities . Microsoft Teams Lags Far Behind Zoom . Analysis of ServiceNow's Gekkobrain Acquisition . Google Attempts to Gain Ground in Cloud and AI . Atlassian Expands Beyond IT Offerings . Amazon Addresses Margin Pressures Through Product Upgrades . Twilio Leverages Segment Platform for Product Expansion . Shopify Expands PaaS Integrations . Analysis of Zendesk's $4.1B Momentive Acquisition . HubSpot Becomes a Stickier Platform . Analysis of Alteryx's Acquisitions . Wix Focuses on Fitness Services Providers . Pure Storage Partners with Microsoft Azure to Address Chip Shortage Concerns . Analysis of Salesforce's LevelJump Acquisition . Qualys Expands Solutions to Address Ransomware . Veeva Eyes Data Cloud . Splunk Expands Partner Capabilities . Coupa Continues to Build on its PaaS . MongoDB Focuses on Winning Government Contracts . DocuSign Targets $50B Market Opportunity in Agreement Cloud . Smartsheet Focuses on PaaS Growth . C3.ai Expands Enterprise and Public Sector Presence