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Amazon Reports Net Sales of $108.5B, 44% Growth over Q1 2020

Prime now has more than 200 million paying members.

Amazon had another outstanding quarter, posting total net sales of $108.5 billion, an increase of 44% compared to the first quarter of 2020. Operating income for the quarter grew to $8.9 billion, compared to $4.0 billion in the first quarter of last year. Net income grew to $8.1 billion, or $15.79 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020. According to GeekWire, analysts estimated total revenue of $104 billion and earnings per share of $9.54.

Sales from online stores represent the largest chunk of Amazon revenue at $52.9 billion, followed by third-party seller services at $23.7 billion, AWS at $13.5 billion, subscription services at $7.6 billion, other sales at $6.9 billion, and physical store sales at $3.9 billion. Sales in every category increased year-over-year, except physical stores which dropped by 16%. Given the pandemic, that decrease was likely expected.

The “kids” are grown up

The company noted dozens of highlights in their earnings report, but founder and CEO Jeff Bezos focused on two of the company’s “kids” – Prime Video and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – who have grown dramatically since their launch.

“Two of our kids are now 10 and 15 years old—and after years of being nurtured, they’re growing up fast and coming into their own,” said Bezos in an April 29, 2021 news release. “As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year. Amazon Studios received a record 12 Academy Award nominations and two wins. Upcoming originals include Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, The Tomorrow War, The Underground Railroad, and much more.

“In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales run rate business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating—up 32% year over year. Companies from Airbnb to McDonald’s to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf. We love Prime Video and AWS, and we’re proud to have them in the family,” Bezos said.

First quarter highlights

Other highlights for the company include the following:

  • Amazon ranked #1 in the U.S. on LinkedIn’s list of top companies for 2021.
  • Amazon ranked #2 on Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies.
  • Amazon ranked #3 on Boston Consulting Group’s Most Innovative Companies.
  • Amazon is expanding its COVID-19 on-site testing and vaccination programs.
  • After completing its annual pay review for U.S. customer fulfillment, delivery, package sorting and specialty fulfillment jobs, more than 500,000 employees will receive an increase in pay ranging between $0.50 and $3 her hour, an investment of more than $1 billion.
  • The company donated and delivered relief and emergency aid supplies to communities in Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama that were impacted by winter or severe spring storms.
  • Amazon said it is expanding its workplace health and safety program, WorkingWell, to reduce incident rates by 50% by 2025.
  • The company has set goals for its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for the year, including increasing representation of women in both tech and science roles, doubling the number of Black directors and VPs, and requiring all of its employees to take inclusion training.
  • Amazon continues to lead its Climate Pledge efforts with a goal of achieving 100% of renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.
  • For Prime Video, Amazon Studios’ had its most successful awards season, and it sealed an exclusive 10-year deal with NFL’s Thursday Night Football, expanding the number of games it will show.

Amazon also revealed that Prime now has more than 200 million paid members. This is not a figure they share frequently. For $119 a year, or $12.99 a month, Prime members get a host of benefits including free shipping, access to Prime Video, participation in Prime Day, Amazon Fresh, Prime Now, early access to Lightning Deals, Prime Wardrobe, Amazon Music Prime, a 20% discount on Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Gaming, and much more.


The company provided the following guidance for the second quarter of 2021:

  • Net sales between $110.0 billion and $116.0 billion, representing growth between 24% and 30%
  • Operating income between $4.5 billion and $8.0 billion, assuming $1.5 billion in costs related to COVID-19
  • Guidance assumes that Prime Day will occur in the second quarter of the year. Last year, it was postponed until the fourth quarter.
  • The guidance also assumes that the company does not have any significant acquisitions, investments, restructurings or legal settlements.

Insider Take

One year after the pandemic began, shoppers are still turning to Amazon for their online purchases, as evidenced by the 44% year-over-year increases in online sales and total net sales, and the 36% increase in Amazon subscriptions (e.g., music, video, gaming, etc.) for convenience and entertainment. With the pandemic continuing into the second quarter of 2021, it is safe to assume that Amazon’s costs will continue in terms of COVID, but there will be plenty of revenue to cover those costs. This is an impressive quarter for Jeff Bezos to hang his hat on as he gets ready to turn the reins over to Andy Jassy, who is currently heading up AWS.

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