Sales surge at bouyant Amazon

News - Bookselling Friday, 01 February 2019

Web giant reports 20% sales growth in final quarter of 2018; rate of growth slowing however as sales were up 31% to $233bn for the year


Amazon has released its results for the final quarter of 2018, which includes Black Friday and the vital pre-Christmas period. Net sales increased 20% to $72.4bn in the fourth quarter, compared to $60.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2017. Excluding the $801 million unfavourable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates during the quarter, net sales increased 21% compared to the same period in 2017.

Operating income increased to $3.8bn in the fourth quarter, up from $2.1bn in the fourth quarter of 2017.

For the full 12 months of 2018, net sales increased 31% to $232.9bn, compared to $177.9bn in 2017. Operating income increased to $12.4bn, compared to $4.1bn in 2017.

UK figures are not split out, and instead are included in the international division. In the fourth quarter, net international sales were $20.829bn, up from $18.038 for the same period in 2017. Losses narrowed from $919m to $642m. The rate of year-on-year sales growth in the international division has slowed from 29% in the last quarter of 2017 to 15% for the same period last year.

Amazon also released some data on Kindle. 'In 2018, authors worldwide earned more than $260 million from the Kindle Direct Publishing Select Global Fund, totaling more than $840 million since the launch of Kindle Unlimited. Hundreds of thousands of authors have self-published millions of books through KDP since launching the service in 2007. Additionally, thousands of independent authors earned more than $50,000, with more than a thousand surpassing $100,000 in royalties in 2018 through KDP.'

It also issued some forward-looking comment covering the first quarter of this year. 'Net sales are expected to be between $56 billion and $60 billion, or to grow between 10% and 18% compared with first quarter 2018. This guidance anticipates an unfavorable impact of approximately 210 basis points from foreign exchange rates. Operating income is expected to be between $2.3 billion and $3.3 billion, compared with $1.9 billion in first quarter 2018.'

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