Amazon.com Inc. showed why it’s No. 1 in the Top 1000, bringing in $143.1 billion in its fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2023.
The Top 1000 is Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest North American online retailers. Amazon is also No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces Database, which ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by 2023 third-party GMV. The latest analysis of the industry as a whole is published within the 2023 Global Online Marketplaces Report.
How much did Amazon make in Q3 sales?
Amazon sales in Q3 grew 13% over $127.1 billion in 2022. In North America, Amazon sales increased 11% year over year to $87.9 billion. And internationally, Amazon sales grew 16% year over year to $32.1 billion. Sales from AWS, or Amazon Web Services, increased 12% year over year to $23.1 billion.
“We saw our highest quarterly worldwide operating income ever,” said chief financial officer Brian Nowak on an Oct. 26 call with investors. It increased $8.7 billion year over year.
Amazon operating income grew at a much larger percentage than total sales compared with Q3 2022 — 343%. That’s nearly quadruple Amazon’s operating income in the year-ago period, growing to $11.2 billion in the third quarter from $2.5 billion. AWS operating income was $7 billion, up from $5.4 billion in Q3 2022.
Fulfillment and supply chain investments pay off
“Our cost to serve and speed of delivery in our stores business took another step forward, our AWS growth continued to stabilize, our advertising revenue grew robustly, and overall operating income and free cash flow rose significantly,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement. “The benefits of moving from a single national fulfillment network in the U.S. to eight distinct regions are exceeding our optimistic expectations, and perhaps most importantly, putting us on pace to deliver the fastest delivery speeds for Prime customers in our 29-year history. The AWS team continues to innovate and deliver at a rapid clip, particularly in generative AI.”
In addition to taking a regional approach to its fulfillment network, Amazon has begun offering Supply Chain by Amazon, which Jassy referred to as “a fully automated set of supply chain services.”
Supply Chain by Amazon can:
- Pick up inventory from manufacturing facilities around the world
- Ship it across borders
- Handle customs clearance and ground transportation
- Store inventory in bulk
- Manage replenishment across Amazon and other sales channels
- Deliver directly to customers
And Amazon sellers can do all of that without “having to worry about managing their supply chain,” Jassy said.
Brendan Witcher, vice president and principal analyst at research firm Forrester, said Amazon is one of the best in the business at delivering. Because of that, he said, it will have the challenge of setting customer expectations to always deliver on time. Witcher said it was notable that Amazon is using AI to help with inventory planning and optimizing driver routes.
“The real litmus test for Amazon’s regional supply chain will be the ability to deliver one-day and same-day delivery this holiday season with this level of growth,” Witcher said. “Fortunately, some of the volume should spread out a bit given that holiday really began with Amazon’s customers with the October Deal Days sale.”
Amazon powers up its generative AI technology
Jassy echoed points about generative AI from Amazon’s Q2 call with analysts in August. He broke down Amazon’s generative AI into three layers.
- Lowest layer: Compute to train large language models (LLMs).
- Middle layer: LLMs as a service.
- Top layer: Applications that run the LLMs.
The middle layer, Jassy said, allows customers to customize those models “using their own data but without leaking that data back into the generalized LLM.”
“In these early days of generative AI, companies are still learning which models they want to use, which models they use for what purposes and which model sizes they should use to get the latency and cost characteristics they desire,” Jassy said in the Oct. 26 call with analysts. He said Amazon Bedrock “is the easiest way to build and scale enterprise-ready generative AI applications.”
“It’s pretty exciting what they’re doing for third-party sellers on the capabilities of generating web pages, generating product imagery for third-party sellers,” Forrester’s Witcher said. “They really do understand the small-business seller, to be quite blunt.”
How is Amazon doing financially 2023?
For the fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 30, Amazon.com Inc. reported:
- $143.1 billion in Amazon Q3 sales. That’s up 13% from $127.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.
- Amazon sales in North America in Q3 grew 11% year over year to $87.9 billion.
- International sales increased 16% year over year to $32.1 billion.
- AWS sales in Q3 grew 12% year over year to $23.1 billion.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Amazon reported:
- $404.8 billion in Amazon sales. That’s up from $364.8 billion in the year-ago period.
- Year-to-date Amazon operating income reached $381.2 billion. That’s up from $355.7 billion in the comparable period last year.
- International sales grew to about $91 billion, up from $83.5 billion.
- AWS sales grew to nearly $66.6 billion from $58.7 billion in the comparable period in 2022.
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