Highlights of Amazon’s Q4 blow out

Amazon reported Q4 results today and the e-commerce giant really made quite a showing.  By all means it was a blow-out quarter.  Amazon topped their guidance, Wall Street Consensus (WSC) and even surprised most on Wall St. with their Q1 guidance.

Here are the highlights from the quarter along with some colour commentary.

  • Revenue – $9.52b vs. WSC of $9b (a near $500m beat!)- Represents 42% y/y growth vs. WSC of 34.7% (a 7% beat!)
  • Op income – $597 vs. WSC of $542 – a $55m beat (10%)
  • EPS – $.85 vs. WSC of $.72 (a $.13 beat!)
  • Media grew: 23%. US media grew: 20% , Intl media grew: 26%
  • EGM grew: 54% (Wow!)  EGM is now a $4.61 business.  US EGM grew: 54% (a material acceleration, benefits from Zappos addition) and Intl EGM grew: 56% 
  • From a mix perspective the Media/EGM mix is now 49%/48% – the highest EGM in the history of Amazon the US/Intl mix is now 52% / 48% – also the highest Intl in the history of Amazon

One little Kindle tidbit – Amazon finally put a metric out there and said that there are now ‘millions’ of Kindle users.    That’s a vague number, but analysts were pretty amazed that we could be looking at over 2m units out there.

Follow the share…

Well now we have the baseline of e-commerce growth which Comscore is reporting at 3% y/y for Q409.  We also have eBay coming in at 4% right at the baseline.  And now we have Amazon coming in at 42% (39% greater than ecommerce) and if you look at just EGM, it goes up to a whopping 54% or 50% greater than e-commerce (and 49% greater than eBay).  That’s a truly amazing growth rate given the efforts of the big players to catch up.

How is Amazon doing it?

We have been getting a lot of questions from retailers, Wall St, and other general e-commerce participants wondering what Amazon’s secret sauce is behind this incredible, sustained, and accelerating share gain.  Every year in Feb. after the Q4 results, we do a series comparing eBay and Amazon.  This year we’ll go through that process again and in addition to pointing out some areas of improvement for eBay, we’ll call out some of the major and minor things that Amazon is doing to delight customers and fuel growth.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon, Google and eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.