Though the company is still marching ahead, challenges have arisen, particularly in markets outside the United states.
The company forecast net sales of between $US56 billion and $US60 billion for the first quarter, missing the analyst average estimate of $US60.77 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Analysts have also noted that sales growth slowed down in some European markets during the crucial holiday quarter.
Overall, net sales for the fourth quarter rose 19.7 per cent to $US72.38 billion and beat the analyst average estimate of $US71.87 billion on the back of a strong holiday season, which includes the major US shopping event Black Friday.
Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 18.3 per cent to $US44.12 billion in the reported quarter. International revenue came in a touch above expectations, too.
Amazon said tens of millions of shoppers signed up for Prime during the season, helping boost revenue from subscription fees 25 per cent to $US4.0 billion. The company has more than 100 million Prime members globally.
This expansive customer base has lured merchants to sell goods on the company’s marketplace, to the point where more than half of goods sold on Amazon came from third parties earlier last year.
Amazon takes a lucrative cut of these sales, which grows when merchants pay the company to handle their shipping, as many do.
Making Amazon more profitable still are ad sales. The company now ranks alongside Alphabet’s Google and Facebook as titans in marketing, letting these same merchants pay for high placement in Amazon’s search results.
Ad sales and “other” revenue jumped 95 per cent to $US3.4 billion in the fourth quarter.
Amazon’s net income rose to $US3.03 billion, or $US6.04 per share, in the quarter ended December 31 from $US1.86 billion, or $US3.75 per share, a year earlier, which included a tax gain
Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced several enterprise customers during the quarter: Ellie Mae, Korean Air, Santander’s Openbank, and Pac-12 are going all-in on AWS; Mobileye and Guardian Life Insurance named AWS their preferred public cloud provider; Amgen will leverage AWS as its strategic infrastructure provider for the vast majority of its cloud infrastructure; and National Australia Bank announced they’ve chosen AWS as their long-term strategic cloud provider.