Amazon’s lockdown revenues soar 40% during the coronavirus lockdown

Amazon increased its revenues by 40 per cent in the second quarter after consumers across the globe turned to the online retail giant during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sales rose from $63.4 billion to $88.9 billion between April and June, with net income doubling to $5.2 billion. The results were stronger than Wall Street forecasts, pushing shares up by as much as 6 per cent in after-hours trading.

Analysts had pencilled in revenues of $81.5 billion, while Amazon had previously signalled that a $4 billion investment in making its warehouses and distribution network Covid-secure would cap profits at $1.5 billion.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said the company had created more than 175,000 new jobs since March to cope with demand.

Amazon said it was in the process of making 125,000 of these permanent full-time positions, suggesting the company believes consumers will keep increasing their spending.

Amazon, valued at $1.5 trillion, has grown from an online bookseller into the world’s largest ecommerce business and has growing interests in groceries, internet advertising and streaming video and music. Through its Amazon Web Services division it is also the largest cloud computing company. It was founded in 1994 by Mr Bezos, who is the world’s richest person.

It has been one the US stock market’s best performers in the pandemic, rising more than 60 per cent since the start of the year even before last night. Along with the leaders of Apple, Google and Facebook, Mr Bezos this week faced a grilling in Washington, where congressmen accused Amazon of using data from third-party retailers on its platform to launch copycat products.

Revenues from Amazon’s domestic market rose from $39 billion to $55 billion, some $5 billion higher than expectations. In its international division, sales climbed from $16 billion to $23 billion, again beating forecasts.

Its AWS cloud computing arm reported $11 billion in turnover, compared with $8 billion in the same period last year, with operating income up by over a half to $3.3 billion. It benefited from the boom in video conferencing during lockdown, with Zoom one of the many prominent companies that use AWS servers to run their businesses.

Amazon forecast third-quarter sales of between $87 billion and $93 billion, up by between 24 per cent and 33 per cent compared with last year.