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Amazon today reported earnings for its third fiscal quarter of 2020, including revenue up 37% to $96.1 billion, net income of $6.3 billion, and earnings per share of $12.37 (compared to revenue of $70.0 billion, net income of $2.1 billion, and earnings per share of $4.23 in Q3 2019). North American sales were up 39% to $59.4 billion, while international sales grew 37% to $25.2 billion.

This is Amazon’s second full quarter during the coronavirus pandemic. Given the company’s leadership position in online retail and the cloud, its results are worth watching. In Q2, Amazon set aside “$4.0 billion in costs related to COVID-19” and in Q3, Amazon spent another $2.0 billion. For Q4, Amazon announced it is “creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs around the world.” The company does not want to be seen as benefiting too much from the pandemic — its $5.2 billion in quarterly profit in Q2 was the largest ever in its 26-year history. It broke that record again in Q3 with $6.3 billion in quarterly profit.

Analysts had expected Amazon to earn $92.7 billion in revenue and report earnings per share of $7.41. The retail giant thus easily beat on both. The company’s stock was up 1.5% in regular trading and flat in after-hours trading. Amazon gave fourth quarter revenue guidance in the range of $112.0 billion and $121.0 billion, compared to a consensus of $104.7 billion from analysts.

AWS settles at sub-30% growth

In Q1, Amazon Web Services (AWS) passed the $10 billion milestone, even as growth continued to slow. In Q2, AWS growth fell to 29% — the first sub-30% growth rate since Amazon started breaking out AWS numbers. In Q3, it stayed at the 29% number. The growth rate has been falling steadily for the past two years, and while COVID-19 accelerated the trend, it hasn’t fallen further.

AWS is the cloud computing market leader, ahead of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. High-percentage growth cannot continue unabated. For a market leader, growth of 29% in sales to $11.6 billion is still impressive.

AWS accounted for about 12.1% of Amazon’s total revenue for the quarter, which is on the lower end but in line with Q2. AWS is “a $43 billion annualized run rate business, up nearly $10 billion in run rate in the last 12 months,” CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the Q2 earnings call.

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By Editor