Amazon had a blowout quarter as people flocked to online shopping

Posted October 29, 2020 4:52 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2020 5:05 p.m. EDT

Amazon had a blowout quarter as people flocked to online shopping

— Amazon's sales and profit soared in the latest quarter as shoppers turned to the online giant to deliver goods to their homes in the pandemic.

Amazon said Thursday sales grew 37% to $96.1 billion during the three months ended September 30, and profit increased 197% to $6.3 billion compared with the same period last year, beating analyst forecasts. The results do not include Amazon's Prime Day event, which took place October 13-14 this year after being postponed over the summer because of the pandemic.

In North America, sales grew 39%, while international sales increased 37%. Revenue from Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud computing business and largest profit driver, grew 29%.

Amazon expects sales to be between $112 billion and $121 billion during its final quarter of the year and operating income to be between $1 billion and $4.5 billion, including approximately $4 billion of costs related to the coronavirus.

Amazon's stock was down nearly 1% during after-hours trading. Heading into Thursday, Amazon's stock had rallied more than 70% this year.

Amazon has strengthened its position during the pandemic, drawing existing Prime members to its platform more frequently and adding new subscribers.

Amazon's core Prime shoppers skew higher income, which make them less susceptible to job losses stemming from the pandemic and a new stimulus bill not being passed in Congress, analysts say. Prime shoppers are spending less on travel and other leisure activities than they did before the pandemic and have shifted their spending to electronics, kitchenware and other items.

Amazon's growth comes at a time when the company is under scrutiny from lawmakers over concerns about its marketplace power, along with Facebook, Google and Apple. The House Judiciary Committee released a report earlier this month that found that "Amazon has engaged in extensive anticompetitive conduct in its treatment of third-party sellers" and other tactics that stifle competition. (Amazon has denied wrongdoing.)

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