Q3 earnings report: Amazon now employs more than 500,000 staff

27 Oct 2017

Amazon phone app. Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Amazon’s earnings report for the third quarter of 2017 sends shares rising more than 7pc in after-hours trading.

It has been a bumper quarter for Jeff Bezos and the rest of the Amazon team, with sales of $43.7bn reported, a bump of 34pc from the same period last year. Analysts on Wall Street had originally expected the company to post revenue of $41.6bn, which the company sailed past.

Amazon’s recent acquisition of premium grocery chain Whole Foods made up $1.3bn of the total sales. In terms of profits in the three months, figures were at $256m, up from $252m in Q3 of 2016.

Investing heavily in Alexa development

CEO Jeff Bezos said that the company’s Alexa technology has proved popular with consumers, and it will continue to improve the experience for users of the suite of voice-assistant products.

“In the last month alone, we’ve launched five new Alexa-enabled devices, introduced Alexa in India, announced integration with BMW, surpassed 25,000 skills, integrated Alexa with Sonos speakers, taught Alexa to distinguish between two voices, and more. Because Alexa’s brain is in the AWS cloud, her new abilities are available to all Echo customers, not just those who buy a new device.

“And it’s working – customers have purchased tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices, given Echo devices over 100,000 5-star reviews and active customers are up more than 5 [times] since the same time last year. With thousands of developers and hardware makers building new Alexa skills and devices, the Alexa experience will continue to get even better.”

North American sales were $25.4bn, up 35pc off last year’s figures, while international sales saw an increase of 29pc to $13.7bn.

Amazon Web Services is continuing to grow

Amazon Web Services is proving to be a vital arm of the company, reporting $4.6bn in revenue, up 34pc.

The cloud computing unit is popular with major corporations as well as SMEs and other enterprises, and increasing interest in cloud and hybrid cloud should see the upward trend continue into Q4. Hulu, General Electric and Accenture are just some of the major names using AWS for their cloud requirements.

Amazon predicts net sales between $56bn and $60.5bn, taking into account increased consumer spending levels around the holiday season.

The company also reported that it employs nearly 542,000 full and part-time staff members, including Whole Foods personnel. It added a massive 159,500 staff in Q3 – for perspective, Google’s entire workforce totals 124,293 people.

Amazon phone app. Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects