North American revenue increased by a relatively modest 21.9%, boosted by the move of Prime Day into June but constrained by comparison with booming online sales during the height of the pandemic last year. Net income soared by 48.4% as Amazon’s lucrative advertising revenue jumped by 87.5%.

Jeff Bezos may have vacated the CEO chair, but Amazon.com Inc. keeps humming along.

Amazon today released its first quarterly earnings report since Andy Jassy succeeded Bezos as CEO July 5, and it shows Amazon increased its net income by 48.4% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, while total revenue rose 27.2%.

North American revenue increased 21.9% and international sales by 35.5%. North American sales had grown year over year by at least 39% over the previous four quarters, driven by the surge in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. With brick-and-mortar stores opening up—particularly in the U.S.—this spring, online shopping growth has tapered.

However, Amazon juiced its Q2 revenue by moving its annual Prime Day sale, which is normally in July, into June, putting that revenue in the second quarter. (The 2020 sale took place in October because of the pandemic.) Consumers worldwide spent $11.19 billion on Amazon sites during the two-day Prime Day event in June, up 7.6% from $10.39 billion during the October 2020 sale, according to Digital Commerce 360.

Chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky told stock analysts on a conference call following the earnings release that moving Prime Day to June increased revenue growth by about 4% in the second quarter.

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He said that the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 around the world has led to slower growth in Amazon’s online sales, including by members of Amazon Prime, who are the e-retailer’s most loyal customers. While those Prime members are still spending a lot on Amazon, “growth in Prime member spend moderated compared to growth seen during the peak of the pandemic,” Olsavsky said.

Amazon said in April that it had 200 million Prime members worldwide, and Olsavsky noted today that more than 50 million consumers had joined Prime in the past 18 months. Of those Prime members, 147 million are in the U.S., according to market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Olsavsky said that since mid-May, excluding Prime Day, Amazon’s sales growth has been in the mid-teens, rather than the growth of 35-45% it had seen during coronavirus-driven store closings and lockdowns. He said he expected that trend to continue. For the third quarter, Amazon projected net sales of between $106.0 billion and $112.0 billion, which would represent year-over-year growth of 10% to 16%.

North American operating income increased 47.0% compared with the second quarter last year. Amazon’s profits, while strong during the pandemic, were impacted in the second quarter of 2020 by Amazon’s heavy spending to protect workers and customers during the pandemic. The company reported with its Q2 release last year that it had incurred $4 billion in such expenses from March to June 2020.

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As usual, a big part of Amazon’s profits came from its industry-leading cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services. AWS increased its revenue by 37.0% and its operating income by 24.9% in the second quarter. While AWS accounted for only 13.1% of Amazon’s Q2 sales, it contributed 54.4% of operating income, down from 57.5% in the same quarter last year.

Also contributing to the profit surge was an increase of nearly $3.7 billion, or 87.5%, in what Amazon calls its “Other” category, which is mainly revenue from ads retailers and brands purchase to promote their goods to Amazon shoppers on the company’s websites. Facebook Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. also reported big increases in online advertising this week as companies increased their ad spend this spring in response to a surge in post-pandemic shopping, both online and offline.

Amazon’s Q2 net income of $7.8 billion was just shy of its record profit of $8.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

Another strong area of growth for Amazon in the second quarter was in third-party seller services, which includes Amazon’s commissions on sales by outside merchants on its marketplaces and fees it charges for its Fulfillment by Amazon delivery service. Revenue in that category grew 49.3% to $48.79 billion from $32.67 billion in the year-ago period.

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Asked about that increase, Olsavsky noted that third-party sellers now account for 56% of unit sales on Amazon, versus 53% a year ago.

Asked about the leadership transition at Amazon, Olsavsky said of Jassy, “Andy has hit the ground running.” He added, “Jeff, of course, is moving into the executive chairman role. He’s not leaving and he continues to be very involved, especially in one-way door decisions,” which is Amazon jargon for initiatives that are hard to reverse.

For the second quarter ended June 30, Amazon reported:

  • North American net sales of $67.55 billion, an increase of 21.9% from $55.44 billion in the second quarter of 2020.
  • International sales of $30.72 billion, a 35.5% increase from $22.67 billion a year ago.
  • Worldwide revenue of $113.08 billion, up 27.2% from $88.91 billion a year earlier.
  • Net product sales, the value of goods Amazon sells on its own behalf, increased 15.4% to $58.00 billion from $50.24 billion. Net service sales reached $55.08 billion, a 42.4% increase from $38.67 billion. Net service sales include revenue from Amazon Web Services, Prime subscriptions and Amazon’s commission on sales by marketplace merchants and fulfillment fees charged to those merchants. Third-party seller fees alone increased 37.9% to $25.09 billion from $18.20 billion.
  • Amazon Web Services revenue of $14.81 billion, up 37.0% from $10.81 billion. AWS operating income was $4.19 billion, up 24.9% from $3.36 billion.
  • Other revenue, which is mainly from advertising, increased 87.5% to $7.91 billion from $4.22 billion.
  • Operating income of $7.70 billion, a 33.1% increase from $5.84 billion. AWS represented 54.4% of total operating income, compared with 57.5% during the same period in 2020.
  • Net income of $7.78 billion, up 48.4% from $5.24 billion.

For the first 6 months of 2021, Amazon reported:

  • North American sales of $131.92 billion, an increase of 29.9% from $101.56 billion in the same period a year ago.
  • International sales of $61.37 billion, up 46.9% from $41.77 billion.
  • Worldwide revenue of $221.60 billion, up 34.8% from $164.36 billion a year earlier. Net product sales increased 25.4% to $115.50 billion from $92.09 billion. Net service sales reached $106.10 billion, a 46.8% increase from $72.28 billion.
  • AWS sales of $28.31 billion, a 34.7% increase from $21.03 billion. AWS operating income was $8.36 billion, up 29.9% from $6.43 billion.
  • Other revenue, which is mainly from advertising, increased 82.3% to $14.82 billion from $8.13 billion.
  • Operating income of $16.57 billion, up 68.5% from $9.83 billion. AWS represented 50.4% of total operating income, compared with 65.4% during the same period in 2020.
  • Net income of $15.89 billion, an increase of 104.2% from $7.78 billion in the same period a year ago.

Amazon is No. 1 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.

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