Amazon Just Had Its Biggest First Quarter Ever

Posted on April 29, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon with 14 Comments

And you thought Apple’s financials were hard to explain. Amazon just delivered a net income of $8.1 billion on revenues of $108.5 billion, a record for the first quarter.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos delivered a non-sensical quote in the earnings announcement—I guess he’s eager to move on—so I’ll just move forward to the handful of data points that the company provided about the quarter:

Amazon Prime. There are now more than 200 million paid Prime members worldwide.

Prime Video turns 10. Amazon’s video streaming service was used by over 175 million Prime members in the past year and streaming hours are up over 70 percent year-over-year. Thanks, COVID!

AWS turns 15. AWS is now a $54 billion business—based on annual sales run rate—and its growth has accelerated to 32 percent YOY.

Operating cash flow. Amazon’s operating cash flow increased 69 percent to $67.2 billion, compared with $39.7 billion for the previous 12 months.

Amazon also notes that it’s making progress towards its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. It is now the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy globally.

The firm expects net sales in the current quarter to land somewhere between $110.0 billion and $116.0 billion, which would represent YOY growth of between 24 and 30 percent.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Amazon Just Had Its Biggest First Quarter Ever”

  1. prjman

    Our response to COVID has resulted in the largest transfer of wealth from small and medium-sized businesses to large, well-connected businesses. We will regret it for decades to come.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to prjman:

      True, but I think there will be a backlash coming though.

      • prjman

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Perhaps, but big business is now working with those in power to rig the system even more in their favor. Hopefully, we're not past the point of no return, but we'll see.


        I have no issue with big businesses. The problem arises when they work with politicians to create an environment where only they can succeed. In the case of COVID, governments were literally telling small retailers other than the Wal-marts and Targets of the world that they had to close while proclaiming others as 'essential'.


        Of course, Amazon was more than happy to pick up the slack.


        Truly horrible stuff.

        • lvthunder

          In reply to prjman:

          Yeah, I agree with you though, but Amazon is part of "Big Tech" that those politicians like to bash. But by a backlash, I meant consumers will start to rebel.

          • red.radar

            In reply to lvthunder:

            I fear the Big Tech is just a convienent popularist punching bag for politicians. Secretly they need them for money to get re-elected. So they will put a good show in the hearings to drum up the engagement with voters to help mobilize them at election time. But at dinner with the lobbyist they cast a more subdue vision of plans that will ensure the power structure stays in tack.

    • ghostrider

      Totally true. The pandemic has pushed so much money towards the companies who were already at the top of the tree, it difficult to see a way back. Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all reaped massive rewards from the pandemic and fear instilled in people and the threats they faced. This will lead to so many more smaller players closing as they just can't compete. Countries, governments, companies and people just panicked and threw billions at large tech thinking that was the answer to see them through. I sincerely hope there is push-back from this, as the world cannot afford to make these companies even more powerful than they already are.
  2. locust_infested_orchard_inc.

    Whilst this article is on Amazon, can anyone inform me how one can definitively identify the seller of any product on Amazon, which are fulfilled by Amazon ? Because as we all know, Amazon as a platform, is a reservoir for the sale of counterfeit products.


    I genuinely cannot figure out from whom is actually selling the merchandise.

    • dftf

      In reply to locust_infested_orchard_inc.:

      It might vary by country. But I've clicked on a random music CD on the UK site and the default purchase option is sold by Amazon directly, as it says "Dispatched from and sold by Amazon".


      If I click "New and used" it brings-up the side-panel at the right showing other sellers.


      For one of those sellers, "Dispatches from" and "Sold by" both say "bargainbookman", which means that seller ships the item. (So any issues with the item have to be dealt-with by that seller only). Sometimes if you click the name of the seller, it will give you their address on their seller page.


      For another seller, "Dispatches from" says "Amazon" and "Sold by" says "onlygreatCDsUK". In such cases, that means the item is "Fulfilled by Amazon", as the seller stores it in Amazon's warehouse, and so the Amazon team post it to you. So any customer-service issues are supposed to be dealt-with by Amazon directly, and such items are (mostly!) eligible to be sent to an Amazon Locker, and count towards the minimum £20 basket-value you must make-up to get free-postage (i.e. if you aren't a Prime subscriber).

  3. derekaw

    From my point of view Amazon does everything right and I love their devices and their shopping experience. Amazon makes all this money because they are so good at what they do.

    • dftf

      In reply to derekaw:

      From personal-experience, I'd say mostly does everything right (from a customer-perspective -- clearly for the workers, things could be better!), though I do have two areas of complaint.


      First: if you buy a product that is "Fulfilled by Amazon", then it says that Amazon ship the item, and handle all returns and refunds. But if a device fails during the warranty-period, they apparently don't handle that, and always pass-you-off to the seller or manufacturer. I'm sure under UK law they should handle it, as the retailer.


      And second: trying to get items sent to a Amazon Locker can be a bit of a crapshoot. I've often got a basket ready, made-sure every item in it is either directly sold by Amazon, or "Fulfilled by", but during the checkout process get told "This item cannot be sent to an Amazon Locker" or "This Locker is full, choose a different shipping destination", even when the item in question is tiny! I wish they'd make clearer on the site what can and cannot go to a Locker so I know in-advance

    • ghostrider

      Amazon exploit buyers, they exploit sellers, they are littered with fake reviews and fake products. They treat their staff terribly and suck up personal data like a black hole. The monthly Prime subscription exists for no other reason than to keep you coming back for more. Amazon are a truly awful company, but I'm glad you're getting everything you want from them.
  4. dftf

    It's mad how for online-retail companies, like Amazon, and for digital-subscriber services, like Disney+, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Premium, they've all experienced massive growth in the past year (as you'd expect, with massive numbers of people suddenly having to stay in).


    And yet many doorstep-delivery services reported losses for 2020: Uber Eats (-$873M/-£630M/-€723M), Just Eat (-€151M/-£132M/-$182M) and Deliveroo (-$309M/-£223M/-€256M) as examples. If they cannot make a profit during a time takeaway orders have skyrocketed, will they ever?

    • napkatz

      In reply to dftf:


      Doorstep delivery services all suffer from the same problem: the high cost of human labor and fuel costs for timely delivery of hot fresh foot. Digital subscription production and transfer costs aren't directly correlated to human labor.

  5. samp

    And payed no Corporation tax...

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