Amazon has today revealed its trading results for 2019 – reporting a 20% growth in net sales to $280.5bn compared to $232.9 bn in 2018.
The US retail and entertainment giant’s year-end statistics were reflected in a strong fourth quarter performance which saw similar growth of 21%, and ended with a 2019 operating income of $14.5bn – up from $12.4bn 12 months earlier.
Net income increased to $11.6bn – or $23.01 per diluted share – compared with $10.1bn in 2018.
Key drivers of this success included retail trade in through the holiday season, new investment in sectors like renewable energy, new Alexa technology partnerships with major brands, and acclaimed program creation bolstering the Prime Video platform.
Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said: “Prime membership continues to get better for customers year after year. And customers are responding — more people joined Prime this quarter than ever before, and we now have over 150 million paid Prime members around the world.
“We’ve made Prime delivery faster — the number of items delivered to US customers with Prime’s free one-day and same-day delivery more than quadrupled this quarter compared to last year.
“Members now have free two-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market in more than 2,000 US cities and towns.
“Prime members watched double the hours of original movies and TV shows on Prime Video this quarter compared to last year, and Amazon Originals received a record 88 nominations and 26 wins at major awards shows.
“A huge thank you to teams across Amazon for their dedicated work to build, innovate, and deliver for customers this holiday.”
The fourth quarter holiday season saw customers order billions of items worldwide through Amazon, including tens of millions of the firm’s own tech devices. Echo Dot was its best seller.
Grocery orders have more than doubled in 12 months, too.
Alexa functions have expanded, while its tech is now being used in car brands including Fiat Chrysler and Lamborghini.
Its entertainment arms have seen Amazon Music customers grow to 55 million worldwide, and Fire TV now stand at 40 million active users.
Amazon Original won plenty of plaudits for original programming, while Prime Video scooped eight Golden Globe Award nominations – and in the UK, it offered live and exclusive Premier League coverage for the first time.
Amazon also announced six new renewable energy projects, bringing its total to 70 as it works towards its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040.
Here in the UK, Amazon made major infrastructure and staff investments, creating 1,000 new jobs in Darlington with the opening of its state-of-the-art fulfilment centre, and creating 600 new jobs at a new corporate office in Manchester.
Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says these latest figures show Amazon continues to invest in its future.
He said: “Amazon has repeatedly shown it’s prepared to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term gains, and these results are no different. The group’s delivered bumper sales in its retail business but seen profits only creep up as it invests in next-day delivery.
“However, given the scale of investments taking place analysts had expected profits to reverse, and the fact they’ve improved despite the extra spending is testament to the quality of the business Jeff Bezos has created. In fact every time we see a set of Amazon results there’s something new to get excited about.
“Prime memberships are flying, a nice recurring revenue stream that also does wonders for customer loyalty, while the group is increasingly providing services to third-party businesses as well. AWS is still the profit engine of the group but it’s no longer the fastest-growing division. The advertising business, rather unfairly lumped under ‘other’, looks to be beating the cloud business when it comes to growth and once at scale it should be pretty high margin too.
“Amazon is truly an embarrassment of riches.”