Amazon delivers a huge earnings beat heading into Jeff Bezos’ final quarter as CEO

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
  • Amazon reported revenue of $108.52 billion for the first quarter of 2021, beating expectations.
  • Sales were up 44% year over year, and AWS gained 32% over the same quarter last year.
  • Strong sales are expected to continue into the second quarter, bolstered by Prime Day before July.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon delivered a strong beat for its first-quarter earnings on Monday, with $108.52 billion in revenue powered by its AWS cloud-computing division and continued tailwinds for online shopping during the pandemic.

The company’s share price jumped in after-hours trading, reaching a record high of $3,651.

Amazon issued a rosy outlook for the upcoming quarter, underlining the company’s expectations of strong sales amid the vaccine rollout and economic recovery.

Here are the key numbers the company reported, compared with analysts’ expectations averaged by Bloomberg:

  • Revenue: $108.52 billion versus $104.57 billion expected
  • EPS (GAAP): $15.79 versus $9.69 expected
  • AWS Revenue: $13.5 billion versus $13.09 billion expected

Total revenue increased 44% year over year from $75.5 billion, while AWS sales grew by 32% from $10.22 billion in that period. Profits increased to $8.1 billion, more than tripling the $2.5 billion posted in the first quarter of last year.

“In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales run rate business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

The company said its annual Prime Day megadeals event would be returning to a summertime slot after being pushed back to October last year because of disruption from the pandemic. The return should give a boost to second-quarter sales, which the company projected to land between $110 billion and $116 billion. The company also said it expects to spend about $1.5 billion on COVID-19-related expenses.

Amazon topped 200 million Prime subscribers earlier this month, up from 150 million at the start of 2020.

Bezos said: “175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year.”

On Wednesday, the company announced a $1 billion investment to provide pay increases for 500,000 workers, ranging between $0.50 and $3 an hour, which will affect four teams: fulfillment, delivery, package sortation, and specialty fulfilment.