Amazon reports surge in revenue as pandemic sparks online retail boom

Amazon reports surge in revenue as pandemic sparks online retail boom
© ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon reported Tuesday a surge in revenue during the second quarter of the year as the COVID-19 pandemic led people to boost their online purchases.

The online retailing giant reported net sales of $88.9 billion compared to the $75.5 billion from the first three months of the year. 

Meanwhile, Amazon doubled its net income during the past three months compared to the first quarter of 2020, increasing from $2.5 billion to $5.2 billion, with company shares doubling as well. 

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“This was another highly unusual quarter, and I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to our employees around the globe,” Amazon CEO and founder Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: GOP lawmaker says 'no place in Congress' for QAnon after supporter's primary win | Uber CEO says app could temporarily shutdown in California if ruling upheld | Federal agency warns hackers targeting small business loan program Top Republican criticizes Twitter's briefing on massive hack To save the Postal Service, bring it online MORE said in a statement. 

Bezos also noted that the company had spent more than $4 billion on efforts to keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for purchasing personal protective equipment, increased cleaning of facilities, and a $500 million program to give bonuses to employees and delivery partners during the pandemic. 

He added that the company had also created 175,000 new jobs since March, and was in the process of moving 125,000 of these employees into full-time roles. 

“Third-party sales again grew faster this quarter than Amazon’s first-party sales,” Bezos noted, adding that “even in this unpredictable time, we injected significant money into the economy this quarter, investing over $9 billion in capital projects, including fulfillment, transportation, and AWS [Amazon Web Services].”

Amazon expects its earnings to stay high over the next quarter, predicting to bring in net sales of between $87 billion and $93 billion, which would be at least a 24 percent growth from sales during the same period in 2019. 

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The company also highlighted new innovations to highlight small and medium businesses on its platform, protect the environment, and increase grocery sales, with the company reporting that online grocery sales had tripled during the second quarter of 2020 as compared to the same time period in 2019.

Amazon’s focus on protecting employees comes after the company has come under heavy criticism during the pandemic for not doing enough to protect warehouse workers and for the firings of several workers who organized strikes over worker conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Amazon’s quarterly earnings report was announced at the same time that Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, which owns Google, released their reports, with most showing strong growth in revenue.

The reports were released the day after the CEOs of all four companies, including Bezos, testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust concerns involving the major tech groups. The hearing was the first time Bezos appeared before Congress, with the Amazon CEO being grilled over issues including potential company use of third-party data to boost products.