Since the pandemic began, the business has posted four consecutive record quarterly profits, attracted more than 200 million Prime loyalty subscribers, and recruited more than 500,000 employees to keep up with the demand.
Revenue was up 44% to $108.5bn (£77bn), making Amazon one of just four US companies to have reported quarterly revenue above $100bn (the others being Apple, Exxon Mobil and Walmart).
Sales at Amazon’s ad business were up 77% and its cloud-computing business – which helps power the online operations of Netflix, McDonald’s and others – grew by 32%.
Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said many businesses want to outsource their technology infrastructure to Amazon Web Services.
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“We expect this trend to continue as we move into the post-pandemic recovery,” he said.
But COVID-19 has brought extra costs: The company has purchased cargo planes and new warehouses to get its items closer to customers and hasten delivery.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said Amazon’s weak spot was its physical retail.
“To us, Whole Foods reveals the Achilles’ heel of Amazon: as great as it is at functional factors such as convenience, operational prowess, technological innovation and so forth, it lacks something of a soul when it comes to creating inspiration and excitement.
“This especially applies to physical spaces but is also evident in the very functional nature of its website and its difficulty in gaining traction in some sectors like luxury fashion.
“At one level this doesn’t matter as Amazon’s skills and differentiation is elsewhere.
“However, that weakness one of the big opportunities for other retailers and, as a retailer like Target shows, focusing on things that Amazon isn’t so good at is a recipe for considerable success.”