Amazon Reports Q1 Results that Blow Past Expectations

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E-commerce giant Amazon reported its financial results for the first quarter that smashed all expectations.

Shares were climbing higher in after-hours trading on Thursday as Wall Street digested the numbers.

The company reported earnings per share of $15.79 compared to only $9.54 per share expected, per Refinitiv. Revenue at $108.52 billion was higher than the $104.47 billion expected.

Amazon was one of the top companies to walk away from 2020 benefiting from the pandemic as consumers scrambled to the e-commerce platform for their shopping needs.

Looking ahead, the company has said that it expects the momentum to continue and that revenue is forecast between $110 billion and $116 billion. Wall Street had been waiting for $108.6 billion.

Amazon reported that its cloud-computing and advertising businesses did very well during the quarter. Amazon Web Services saw net sales of $13.5 billion for the period, up 32% year over year. Amazon doesn’t disclose advertising sales, but it’s included in the company’s “Other” category, which saw its revenue grow 77% year over year to $6.9 billion.

CEO Jeff Bezos also talked a little bit about the company’s streaming service. “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,” Bezos said in the earnings release.

Amazon also said that this year’s Prime Day will take place in June, which will likely help year-over-year comparisons for revenue in the second quarter.

The two day sales event usually takes place in July, but Amazon had postponed the event to October last year due to Covid-19.

CFO Brian Olsavsky said on a call with investors, “In many areas, July is vacation month, so it might be better for customers, sellers and vendors to experiment with a different time period. We believe that it might be better timing later in [the second quarter], so that’s what we’re testing this year.”

Bezos said earlier this month that company now has 200 million Prime subscribers, 50 million more than it had at the start of 2020.
Amazon additionally announced this week that it would spend more than $1 billion on raising wages for over half a million of its U.S. operations workers.

Olsavsky declined to comment on Amazon’s CEO transition plans, which will come into play once Bezos steps down in the third quarter. AWS CEO Andy Jassy will take over Bezos’ role.

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.