Last quarter, Amazon dropped the bombshell that CEO Jeff Bezos was stepping down this year, transitioning to the role of Executive Chair in Q3. For now, though, Bezos and co are busy raking in the cash. It’s clear that Amazon was one of the few companies that benefited from the pandemic, thanks to the rise of online shopping. In the company’s latest earnings release, Amazon reported that it has made more profit in the past 12 months than it has in the previous three years.
Amazon had a wildly successful 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and that blazing trail shows no signs of stopping for 2021.
From April 2020 to March 31st, 2021, Amazon collected $26.9 billion in profit, while it made $24.7 billion in profit between 2017 to 2019. According to the release, net sales have increased 44 percent to $108.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 (compared to $75.5 billion this time last year). This is the 78th consecutive quarter of double-digit year-over-year growth and marks the highest growth rate since 2011.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared his final annual letter to investors recently, highlighting the fact that the number of Amazon Prime subscribers had grown to 200 million people, up approximately 33 percent from its previous milestone of 150 million subscribers in Q4 2019.
Much of this was fueled by the huge jump in e-commerce in the past year. At the same time, the company also recently reported a 32 percent revenue growth in its Amazon Web Services cloud division. The AWS unit generated $13.5 billion, which is 12 percent of Amazon’s total revenue.
At the same time, however, the company has faced scrutiny that it is treating its workers unfairly. It had defeated a union drive earlier this month, where two-third of workers at a warehouse voted not to join a union, but there were also accusations that Amazon intimidated its employees into doing so. The whole battle also shone a spotlight on the company possibly treating its employees unfairly by forcing harsh productivity quotas and work practices.
In response, Amazon said it would raise the pay for up to $3 an hour for logistics workers on top of its $15 minimum wage. Bezos will be replaced as CEO by Andy Jassy in Q3 2021, and he’ll be taking the reins of a seemingly unstoppable force that can turn huge sales and profit during tough times. He’ll also be taking on a swath of big issues that the company currently faces, notably unionization.