Amazon’s earnings report Thursday will be its first with CEO Andy Jassy at the helm.
While it may be tempting to view the numbers as setting the tone for a new era, it’s worth keeping in mind that these results were booked as of June 30, several days before Jassy officially took over from founder Jeff Bezos in early June.
And if you buy into an old Bezos refrain, the outcome was actually determined years ago.
One exception is Prime Day, the annual two-day sales event, which was held in June this year. While the company typically doesn’t disclose detailed Prime Day financial results, its overall numbers will provide new clues about how things went. Industry analysts believe Prime Day sales grew at a slower rate.
What to watch in the numbers: Wall Street expects Amazon to report overall net sales of $115 billion, on average, a 29% increase year-over-year. That’s toward the high end of Amazon’s previous guidance of net sales between $110 and $116 billion.
Analysts expect earnings per share of $12.22, up from $10.30 per share a year ago.
Amazon said previously to expect operating profit between $4.5 billion and $8 billion, vs. $5.8 billion a year ago. This assumed $1.5 billion in COVID-19 costs.
Sales mix: This has become one of the most interesting charts to watch, showing which parts of Amazon’s business are growing, and where it generates most of its revenue. While online stores remain the company’s bread-and-butter, the growth in third-party seller fees and the “Other” category, which includes advertising, are notable trends.
Amazon Web Services: While the overall results won’t necessarily reflect Jassy’s effectiveness as the new CEO, he will be able to take credit or blame for the company’s cloud division, as the former CEO of Amazon Web Services.
Investors typically keep a close eye on the AWS revenue growth rate, which is running into the law of large numbers, dropping as low as 28% for a few quarters last year, after multiple years above 40% growth.
Even at a lower percentage growth, this division is a financial powerhouse for the company. In the first quarter, AWS revenue was $13.5 billion, up 32%, and operating profits were a record $4.2 billion, or 47% of the company’s overall operating profits of $8.9 billion.
Earlier this week, Google Cloud reported revenue of $4.6 billion for the June quarter, up 54% from a smaller base. Microsoft said revenue from its Azure cloud platform grew 51%, contributing to the Redmond company’s blockbuster earnings, although Microsoft doesn’t disclose specific Azure revenue figures.
Jobs growth: At the end of the first quarter, Amazon’s total number of full- and part-time employees fell to 1.271 million people, down 27,000 positions from the end of 2020.
The company’s job growth typically slows at the end of the peak holiday shopping season, so it wasn’t a huge anomaly in that way. However, in part due to Amazon’s current scale, it was the largest quarter-over-quarter employment decline in its history in raw numbers, which will make the employment numbers today worth watching even more than normal.
Check back for full coverage of Amazon earnings Thursday afternoon on GeekWire.