Amazon came in just above Wall Street expectations for the first quarter of 2017, posting sales of $35.7 billion, up 23 percent over last year.
Amazon hit $724 million in profit for the first quarter, or earnings of $1.48 per share. Analysts surveyed in advance by Yahoo Finance expected profit of about $1.13 per share on $35.3 billion in revenue, an increase of about 21 percent over this time last year.
Amazon stock is up a little more than 4 percent on news of the earnings success.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the quarterly earnings release chose to call out Amazon’s efforts in India, where it has made a more than $5 billion bet on that e-commerce market. Amazon is just a hair behind Flipkart as the top e-commerce site, and appears set to pass its rival, according to data released earlier this month.
“Our India team is moving fast and delivering for customers and sellers. The team has increased Prime selection by 75% since launching the program nine months ago, increased fulfillment capacity for sellers by 26% already this year, announced 18 Indian Original TV series, and just last week introduced a Fire TV Stick optimized for Indian customers with integrated voice search in English and Hindi,” Bezos said. “We’re grateful that customers are responding — Amazon.in is the most visited and the fastest growing marketplace in India. It’s still Day 1 for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we’ll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India.”
Amazon Web Services has buoyed Amazon’s financials as it leads the way in the crowded cloud computing market, and that trend continued in the first quarter. The cloud division brought in $3.66 billion in net sales, and $890 million in operating income.
Amazon’s employee count at the end of the first quarter was 351,000. That represents an approximately 43 percent increase over this time last year when its employment was approximately 245,200.
The day before releasing its earnings, Amazon unveiled the Echo Look, a new $200 “hands-free camera and style assistant” powered by its digital brain Alexa. On the company’s quarterly earnings call, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said the company is “doubling down” in investment on Alexa and her family of products, like the Echo speaker.