Amazon has reported sales of more than $100bn (£69.6bn) for the first time – up by a fifth on the previous year – as eBay reported declining sales.
Fourth-quarter and full-year figures reported overnight showed that the US retail giant, which is the largest UK ecommerce trader and an Elite member of the IRUK Top500, turned in sales of $107bn (£74.5bn) in the year to December 31, 20% up on the previous year. The retailer moved into the black, with net income of $596m (£415.3m) from a loss of $241m (£167.9m), last year.
In the fourth quarter alone, net sales of $35.7bn (£24.9bn) were 22% up on the same period a year earlier, while net income of $482m (£335.9m) was up by 125% from $214m last time.
“Twenty years ago, I was driving the packages to the post office myself and hoping we might one day afford a forklift,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com. “This year we pass $100bn in annual sales and serve 300m customers. And still, measured by the dynamism we see everywhere in the marketplace and by the ever-expanding opportunities we see to invent on behalf of customers, it feels every bit like day 1.”
Highlights of Amazon’s fourth quarter included the launch of Amazon Pantry in the UK, and the expansion of Prime Now to 25 areas in the UK as well as the US, Italy and Japan. Prime Same Day launched in the UK.
During 2015, Fulfillment by Amazon shipped more than a billion packages for sellers, and payments via Pay with Amazon grew more than 150% year-on-year. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the availability of AWS IoT, a cloud platform designed to enable billions of connected devices, from mobile phones to cars and factory floors, to connect with cloud applications. By the end of the year there were 51% more paying members of the Prime subscription service than a year earlier. Membership, said Amazon, grew by 47% in the US and faster outside the US.
Commenting on the figures, Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief at money.co.uk, said: “Although these results are a little surprising, the lord of online retail continues to prove that their one-stop shop business strategy is the key to unlock our wallets. The website’s consistently good customer service lives up to its promises and the popular Amazon prime is the boomerang that gets subscribers going back time and time again.
“The word on the street is the digital giant is looking to take on the supermarkets at their own game and wants to expand its offerings to offer groceries too. I predict Amazon will give the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda a good run for their money.”
eBay also reported full-year and fourth quarter figures this week. Full-year net revenues of $8.6bn (£5.99bn) were 2% down on the previous year, while earnings came in at $1.9bn (£1.3bn), from a loss of $865m (£602.1m) last time. Fourth quarter revenues of $2.3bn (£1.6bn) were flat on last year, and earnings came in at $523m (£364.4m), 28% down on the $729m (£508m) reported in the previous year.
During the peak holiday shopping season, some 265m transactions took place on the eBay marketplace platform across 190 markets.
“We delivered solid fourth quarter results and continued to make progress against our key priorities,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay Inc. “The quarter also marked the end of an extraordinary year during which we completed the spin-off of PayPal. We continue to grow our business and customer base while executing our plan to reposition eBay for long-term success.”