In just a few hours, Amazon could follow in the footsteps of crosstown rival Microsoft, which hit a $1 trillion market cap after posting a strong quarterly update yesterday. Amazon is also in the $1 trillion range and could get there if investors like what they see in the tech giant’s balance sheets.
What analysts expect: Earnings of $4.72 on $59.65 billion in revenue, per Yahoo Finance, good for year-over-year growth of 16.9 percent. Here are a few of the trends we will be following when Amazon reports its latest financial update this afternoon.
Will the tech giant post another quarter of record profits? For years, Amazon ran on slim profit margins and plowed money back into the business. However, the continued growth of the Amazon Web Services cloud division as a profit machine has juiced the company’s bottom line like no other time in its history.
How long before Amazon breaks out advertising revenue on its own? Advertising has quickly become one of the tech giant’s fastest-growing businesses. On its earning statements advertising resides within the “Other” category, which “primarily includes sales of advertising services, as well as sales related to our other service offerings.” The “Other” category posted a staggering 95 percent annual revenue growth rate in the last quarter, compared to 14 percent growth for Amazon’s online stores and 46 percent for AWS.
Will Physical Stores bounce back? Last quarter, Amazon’s brick-and-mortar stores reported a 3 percent year-over-year drop in revenue, though that comes with some caveats. Physical retail is a tough business, and one that Amazon is still pretty new to. It will be interesting to see not just the new initiatives the tech giant puts in place at its stores, but how it works to make that part of its business grow faster.
Amazon drew a lot of headlines during the quarter, though many of them had more to do with controversy surrounding the company than new products and initiatives. The eyes of the world were fixated on the personal life of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s tussles with politicians, the surprising decision to pull out of its New York HQ2 location and speculation over where the company will focus its growth in the future, and where it won’t. Here are a few of the tech giant’s other highlights from the quarter:
- In January, Amazon unveiled a cooler-sized package delivery robot named Scout that it is testing in an unspecified neighborhood in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. A teaser video showed a mini six-wheeled robot with blue Prime branding rolling slowly down an even sidewalk on a sunny day. We haven’t heard anything more about the program since then, and the delivery robots have yet to be spotted in the wild.
- Details about the intriguing healthcare joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway are starting to come out. In March, the venture finally got a name: Haven. Between its new website and information that has come out in a court case, we’ve learned that Haven will focus on access to primary care, simpler insurance benefits and lowering prescription drugs prices. It is also looking at how to use data to improve the healthcare system overall.
- Amazon made several acquisitions and investments in the quarter that give insight into areas the tech giant has its eye on. Amazon invested in a pair of transportation companies, teaming with General Motors to invest in electric pickup truck maker Rivian and joining a $530 million round for autonomous vehicle startup Aurora. During the quarter, Amazon acquired eero, the San Francisco-based maker of mesh home WiFi routers, and AWS scooped up TSO Logic, a Vancouver, B.C. startup that offers a service that helps customers understand how much running their current workloads will cost them on the cloud.