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Amazon’s unstoppable rise continues as sales smash expectations again

The phenomenal growth is yet another sign that COVID-19 has accelerated a permanent shift away from physical retail.

Amazon’s unstoppable rise continues as sales smash expectations again
[Photo: smartstock/iStock]
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The world’s biggest e-commerce platform continues to reap the benefits of a world forever changed by COVID-19.

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Today, Amazon.com Inc. reported earnings for the first quarter of 2021, easily blowing past estimates to boast a 44% rise in sales compared to the same period last year. Earnings per share were $15.79 on revenue of $108.5 billion, the company said in its earnings release, reported after the bell on Thursday.

Analysts were expecting EPS of $9.54 on revenue of $104.5 billion, according to a consensus estimate cited by The Wall Street Journal.

The phenomenal growth in sales is yet another sign that COVID-19 has accelerated a permanent shift away from physical retail. Even among consumers who might not have been habitual online shoppers before the pandemic, many who grew accustomed to the convenience of one-click purchases and package deliveries during the height of lockdowns last year are not likely to go back to their old ways. The easing up of restrictions in more recent months did not seem to diminish Amazon’s sizable grip on commerce.

The company also continued to increase its control over the infrastructure of the internet itself, with its Amazon Web Services unit posting a 32% increase in revenue over the same period 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,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Shares of Amazon skyrocketed in after-hours trading, up almost 5% to over $3,600, a new record. You can check out the full report here.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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