Amazon today reported earnings for its first fiscal quarter of 2019, including revenue of $59.7 billion, net income of $3.6 billion, and earnings per share of $7.09 (compared to revenue of $51.0 billion, net income of $1.6 billion, and earnings per share of $3.27 in Q1 2018). North American sales were up 17% to $35.8 billion, while international sales grew 9% to $16.2 billion.
Analysts had expected Amazon to earn $59.65 billion in revenue and report earnings per share of $4.72. The retail giant thus only slightly beat on revenue but destroyed on earnings per share. The company’s stock was flat in regular trading, but up some 1% in after-hours trading. Amazon gave second quarter revenue guidance in the range of $59.5 billion and $63.5 billion, compared to a consensus of $60.88 billion from analysts.
AWS, subscriptions, and ‘other’
Amazon Web Services (AWS) continued to be the star of the show, growing 41% in sales to $7.7 billion. AWS thus accounted for about 13% of Amazon’s total revenue for the quarter. AWS is the cloud computing market leader, ahead of Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
Subscription services were up 40% to $4.3 billion. That would mainly constitute Amazon Prime, which the company is expanding to offer deals at places like Whole Foods.
Amazon’s “other” category, which mostly covers the company’s advertising business, jumped 34% to $2.7 billion in revenue. The company knows plenty about what its customers want to buy, or even don’t want to buy, and it’s increasingly leveraging that for its advertising business.
Fire TV, Amazon Future Engineer, and Alexa
Amazon is notorious for not sharing numbers unless they’re very good. The company revealed in today’s report that Fire TV now has more than 30 million active users.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos decided not to focus on the money in this earnings report, but rather to talk up the company’s latest education initiatives.
“The son of a working single mom, Leo Jean Baptiste grew up speaking Haitian Creole in a New Jersey home without internet access. He’s also one of our inaugural group of 100 high school seniors to receive a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer scholarship and Amazon internship,” Bezos said in a statement. “He rose to the top of his class and is set to study computer science at college this fall, with the dream of getting a job in machine learning. Our passion for invention led us to create Amazon Future Engineer so we could help young people like Leo from underrepresented groups and underserved communities across the country. In addition to 100 college scholarships a year, we’re funding computer science classes in 1,000 high schools and counting, and inspiring younger kids to explore coding through coding camps and after-school programs. We love this program, and we can’t wait to see what Leo and his fellow future engineers invent.”
Last quarter, Bezos talked about Alexa, but only in passing. Amazon is nowhere near ready to break out the voice assistant in its earnings reports. Alexa is simply contributing to overall Amazon retail sales, which is of course the company’s main revenue driver.