February 28, 2024

Amazon delivery worker pulls cart of packages

Customers bought more than 1 billion items during Amazon’s 11-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales event this year.
Image: Brendan McDermid (Reuters)

Amazon stock jumped over 8% on Thursday during extended hours trading after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

In a company statement, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy attributed the company’s strong quarterly performance to a “record-breaking holiday shopping season.”

Amazon customers bought more items on the site this past holiday season than during any previous one, according to the company. Customers bought more than 1 billion items alone during Amazon’s 11-day Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales event.

Theses holiday purchases resulted in an increase of revenue of 14% in the three months ended Dec. 31 to nearly $170 billion, up from $149.2 billion in the same period in 2022.

The company’s net income skyrocketed over 3,400% year-over-year to $10.6 billion in its fourth quarter, up from $300 million the year prior. Its earnings per share came to $1.00, beating Wall Street expectations of $0.81 according to a consensus estimate from analysts surveyed by Zack Investment Research.

Amazon also forecasted that its sales in the first quarter of 2024 will be between $138 billion and $143.5 billion, up between 8% and 13% compared with the first quarter of 2023.

Revenue breakdown

Online sales alone accounted for about 40% of revenue at $70 billion. Commissions from third-party sellers represented another 25% at about $43.6 billion. Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS was also another significant source of cash, generating about $24.2 billion, or about 14% of overall revenue in the fourth quarter.

Advertising services only accounted for 8% of the company’s revenue at $14 billion—this week the company’s Prime Video streaming service started featuring ads.

Amazon introduces AI shopping assistant

During Thursday’s call with investors, Jassy also touted the launch of the company’s new AI-powered shopping assistant Rufus. 

Jassy told investors that some Amazon mobile app users can now ask Rufus questions like, “Which are the best cold weather rain jackets?” and receive coherent and thoughtful recommendations.

The feature is currently available to a small number of app users in the US, but will be rolled out to more customers in the coming weeks.

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