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Amazon grows sales 27% in 2016 and is increasingly profitable

February 2, 2017 04:01 PM
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It was a good year for Amazon.com Inc., which today reported its 2016 full-year and fourth quarter financial results.

The e-retailer generated $136.00 billion in revenue in 2016, up 27.1% from $107.01 billion in 2015. Its net income also grew nearly 300% to $2.37 billion from $596 million in 2015.

Excluding revenue from service sales, such as computing power and commissions paid by Amazon marketplace sellers, product sales totaled $94.67 billion, up 19.4% from $79.27 billion in 2015.

Shoppers made Amazon their go-to e-retailer for holiday shopping, and that’s reflected in Amazon’s Q4 performance. The e-retailer reported fourth quarter 2016 revenue of $43.74 billion, with North American sales, excluding Amazon Web Services, increasing by 22.0% and international sales up by 17.9%.

The Q4 results are in line with Amazon’s expectations. In its Q3 2016 results, Amazon projected it would generate sales of between $42.0 billion and $45.5 billion during the fourth quarter.

The e-retailer posted net income of $749 million for the quarter, up 55.4% from $482 million a year earlier.

Amazon says when excluding $558 million in unfavorable impact from foreign exchange rates, net sales increased 24% in Q4. For the full year, when excluding $550 million in unfavorable impact from foreign exchange rates, net sales increased 28%. Amazon operates websites in 13 countries outside the United States.

Sellers on Amazon’s marketplace accounted for 49% of units sold during Q4, up two points from Q4 2015 but down slightly from 50% in the third quarter of 2016.

Slice Intelligence has estimated Amazon accounted for 38% of U.S. e-retail sales during the recent holiday season, and 43% of all U.S. online sales in 2016, based on its analysis of consumers’ email receipts. Amazon accounted for 33.8% of visits to retail websites during November and December, according to Hitwise, a division of Connexity Inc., a provider of e-commerce marketing automation technology. Hitwise’s analysis excludes traffic to mobile apps.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Amazon reported:

• Net sales of $43.74 billion, a 22.3% increase from $35.75 billion in the same quarter in 2015. Of that revenue, about $30.63 billion stemmed from merchandise Amazon itself sold to consumers, what the e-retailer terms “net product sales”—up 15.1% year over year. The rest, $13.11 billion, came from commissions from outside merchants that sell on Amazon marketplaces, the Amazon Web Services cloud computing service and other smaller revenue sources. Those “net service sales,” as Amazon calls them, were up 43.6% from last year.

• North American net sales of $26.24 billion, up 22.0% from $21.50 billion for the fourth quarter of 2015. North America accounted for about 60.0% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2016, inclusive of web services sales, unchanged from the same period in 2015.

• International net sales totaling $13.97 billion, up 18.0% from $11.84 billion in 2015. International accounted for about 31.9% of sales in the fourth quarter, inclusive of web services sales, compared with 33.1% in 2015.

• Amazon Web Services revenue was $3.54 billion in Q4, up 46.9% from $2.41 billion a year earlier. AWS sales accounted for 8.1% of Q4 2016 consolidated revenue, versus 6.7% in Q4 2015 and 4.8% in Q4 2014. While AWS was responsible for 8.1% of Q4 revenue, it delivered the greatest amount of operating income at $926 million. By comparison, the North American segment had $816 million in operating income and the International segment had a loss of $487 million.

• North American sales of books, music and videos of $4.21 billion, a 7% increase, while sales of electronics and other general merchandise increased 25% to $21.57 billion.

• Net income of $749 million compared with net income of $482 million in the same period in 2015, a 55.4% increase.

• Spending on marketing increased 42.6% to about $2.51 billion from $1.76 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• Spending on technology and content, including fees for licensing content for its Amazon Video service, increased 27.5% to $4.55 billion from $3.57 billion. Amazon had 76.2 million users of its streaming video service in the United States in 2016, according to eMarketer Inc. estimates.

• Spending on fulfillment increased 25.7% to $5.72 billion from $4.55 billion in Q4 2015.

• General and administrative spending grew about 83.8% year over year to $717 million from $390 million.

For the full year 2016, Amazon reported:

• Net sales of $136.00 billion, a 27.0% increase from $107.01 billion in 2015. Of that revenue, $94.67 billion stemmed from Amazon selling products itself to consumers, and those sales were up 19.4% year over year. The rest, $41.32 billion, came from commissions from outside merchants that sell on Amazon marketplaces, the Amazon Web Services cloud computing service and other smaller revenue sources. Those “net service sales,” as Amazon calls them, were up 49.0% from last year.

• North American net sales of $79.79 billion, up 25.2% from $63.71 billion in 2015. North America accounted for 58.7% of sales in 2016, compared with 59.5% in 2015.

• International net sales totaling $43.98 billion, up 24.2% from $35.42 billion in 2015. International accounted for 32.3% of sales in 2016, compared with 33.1% in 2015.

• Amazon Web Services revenue was $12.22 billion, up 55.0% from $7.88 billion a year earlier. AWS sales accounted for 9.0% of 2016 consolidated revenue. While AWS was responsible for 9.0% of 2016 sales, it delivered the greatest amount of operating income at $3.11 billion. By comparison, the North American segment had $2.36 billion in operating income and the International segment had a loss of $1.28 billion.

• Net income of $2.37 billion compared with a net income of $596 million in 2015.

• Spending on marketing increased 37.7% to $7.23 billion from $5.25 billion in 2015.

• Spending on technology and content increased 28.3% to $16.09 billion from $12.54 billion.

• Spending on fulfillment increased 31.4% to $17.62 billion from $13.41 billion in 2015.

• General and administrative spending increased 38.9% year over year to $2.43 billion from $1.75 billion.

Looking ahead, Amazon says it expects to increase Q1 sales between 14% and 23% compared to Q1 2016, equal to revenue in the range of $33.25 billion and $35.75 billion.

Amazon is the No. 1 retailer in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

 

 

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