Tech giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently reported its quarterly results that surpassed all market expectations. The company is seeing stellar growth within the e-commerce business driven by the global lockdown conditions. But it is not just e-commerce. Amazon continued to upgrade its products and services across the board and is seeing strong market performance across all categories.
Amazon’s first quarter revenues grew 44% to $108.52 billion, ahead of the market’s forecast of $104.63 billion. Net income of $15.79 per share was significantly higher than the Street’s forecast of $9.64 per share as well. The growth in earnings was attributed to its global shipping and fulfillment efficiency. Overall, its investments in the fulfillment centers helped reduce shipping costs per unit by nearly 2% over the year.
By segment, net product sales grew 37.4% to $57.5 billion and net service sales increased 51.8% to $51.03 billion.
North American sales grew 40% to $64.4 billion, while international sales grew 60% to $30.7 billion.
Revenues from Amazon Web Services (AWS) increased 32% to $11.6 billion. Subscription services revenues grew 36% to $7.6 billion. Revenues from “other” category which primarily includes advertising grew 77% to $6.9 billion.
Amazon expects its current quarter revenues at $110-$116 billion with an operating income of $4.5-$8 billion. The market was looking for revenues of $108.03 billion for the quarter, and $473.11 billion for the fiscal year.
Amazon’s Product Upgrades
During the quarter, Amazon continued to improve its product offerings. It announced the launch of a new generation of its Echo Buds. These Buds now have a new design and offer premium audio, custom-designed Active Noise Cancellation technology, wireless charging capabilities, and hands-free access to Alexa. For Ring, it announced Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro, both of which have 3D Motion Detection and Bird’s Eye View powered by radar technology.
It also announced a new program, Build It, that will allow customers to provide inputs on new devices built by Amazon. They will get access to Day 1 Editions program to provide inputs on devices Amazon builds next, such as a Smart Sticky Note Printer, a Smart Nutrition Scale, and a Smart Cuckoo Clock.
For Alexa, Amazon announced Music Sharing with Alexa, which now allows users to share songs with friends and family, and Alexa for Xbox, allowing US and Canadian customers to use their gaming console to ask Alexa to download games remotely.
It continued to upgrade its Cloud offering as well. AWS announced the general availability of Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA), its new managed service that will simplify building, scaling, and management of containerized application on AWS for Red Hat OpenShift customers. ROSA will allow customers to get access to the simplified Kubernetes cluster creation without the need to manually scale and manage the rest of the infrastructure. It will also help simplify the process of moving on-premises Red Hat OpenShift workloads to AWS and provide a tighter integration with other AWS technologies.
Recently, Amazon announced the general availability of AQUA (Advanced Query Accelerator) for Amazon Redshift, its hardware-accelerated cache that will accelerate query performance as compared to other cloud data warehouses. By eliminating unnecessary data movement, AQUA customers will be able to avoid networking bandwidth limitations, and get access to real time dashboards.
Amazon’s Advertising Growth
While Amazon delivered growth across all segments, its 77% growth in advertising was impressive. The surge was driven by strong traffic, improved products, and international adoption. According to eMarketer, Amazon Advertising accounted for 10.3% of the online advertising revenues in 2020 compared with 7.8% in 2019. Amazon has been investing in upgrading its advertising offerings. In the recent past, it has launched new capabilities such as actionable video ads that allow viewers to interact with brands on the IMDb TV app on Fire TV, self-service tools for advertisers to buy guaranteed over-the-top TV (OTT) supply, sponsored content for businesses to advertise entertainment-oriented content, and bigger media content on Prime through streaming of events such as the NFL deal that will provide significant advertising opportunity.
The recent moves by Apple and Google aimed at curtailing the ability of third party apps to collect user data will also benefit Amazon. Unlike Facebook and others that rely on this data to show targeted ads, Amazon has direct access to user product searches and can show highly relevant ads to its consumers. Advertising is also a high margin segment for Amazon, and analysts are hopeful that its growth will help Amazon continue to drive its investment capabilities in the future.
Its stock is trading at $3,223.91 with a market capitalization of $1.63 trillion. It had touched a 52-week high of $3,554 in April. It had fallen to a 52-week low of $2,330 in May 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.