Amazon had another blowout earnings Thursday, breaking record profits for the third straight quarter.
But not everyone was impressed by it, as some reporters on the company’s conference call with the media wondered whether it might be a sign of Amazon not finding enough new investment opportunities to reinvest its profits.
To defend the company and prove it’s not becoming an old, ageing tech empire, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky had to go through all the investments he’s made over the past quarter:
Digital video content: Amazon plans to double its online video content spend in the second half of this year compared to same period of last year. It’s also tripling the amount of original content.
Fulfillment centres: It’s adding 18 new fulfillment centres next quarter versus just 6 in the same quarter of last year.
Prime: Amazon continues to invest in Prime through faster delivery, more video and music content, and additional discounts through big events like Prime Day.
Alexa and Echo: Amazon’s doubling down on making Alexa more popular among developers to make it a much broader platform.
International: Last quarter, Amazon announced it would make an additional $3 billion investment in India and $500 million investment in Italy.
AWS: Amazon’s cloud computing services already added 422 new features this year vs. 722 in all of last year.
“We have a lot of investments going on at any point in time. And there’s no shortage of them right now,” Olsavsky said.
If anything, Olsavsky said all the investments are translating into higher growth, as Amazon recorded 28% paid unit growth in the second quarter, up from 22% it saw in the same quarter of last year.
“I would not take our financial result as an indication that we’re running out of investment opportunities in any way, shape, or form,” he added.
Instead, Olsavsky said the profit growth is a result of operating efficiency. Amazon’s headcount, for example, jumped another 47% to reach 268,000 last quarter, yet it broke its net profit record, set in the previous quarter.
“We’re investing wisely on behalf of shareholders…but we also work very hard on efficiency, making sure our increase in revenue is met with very strong operating efficiencies and the benefits of operating scale,” Olsavsky said.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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