Amazon cloud services drive 15% jump in first-quarter sales
Amazon said Thursday that strong gains in its market-leading cloud computing services helped drive a 15-percent rise in total sales in the first quarter.
But the bottom line was red for the leading U.S. online retailer, with a loss of US$57 million, compared to a net gain of US$108 million a year ago, due to continued growth in operating overhead.
Total sales jumped to US$22.72 billion in the January-March period, compared to US$19.74 billion a year ago.
U.S. sales gains offset a fall in the company’s international division, hit in part by the strong dollar and weaker foreign currencies.
Sales of electronics and other merchandise in North America were still the company’s mainstay, up 31 percent in the year to US$10.25 billion. Internationally, the gain was 4 percent.
Sales in the company’s Amazon Web Services division — cloud computing services — surged from US$1.05 billion in the year-ago quarter to US$1.57 billion.
It was the first time Amazon broke out earnings from the division, which has by some estimates a 30 percent share of the rapidly growing industry.
“Amazon Web Services is a US$5 billion business and still growing fast — in fact it’s accelerating,” said company founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
“Born a decade ago, AWS is a good example of how we approach ideas and risktaking.”