SEATTLE, Washington – Despite, or perhaps because of, a raging pandemic, Amazon.com Inc. saw its operating cash flow soar 72 percent for calendar year 2020.
The online retailer recorded operating cash flow of $66.1 billion for the year to 31 December 2020, well ahead of the previous full year of $38.5 billion.
Net sales jumped 38 percent to $386.1 billion, compared to the prior year’s $280.5 billion. This figure was buoyed by a major fourth quarter which saw net sales increase 44 percent from $87.4 billion to $125.6 billion.
In a statement accompanying the financial results, Amazon detailed operating highlights of the year:
Empowering Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
- The 2020 holiday season was the best ever for independent businesses selling on Amazon-nearly all of which are small and medium-sized businesses-with worldwide sales growing over 50% compared to the same period in 2019. Sellers surpassed $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, growing about 60% from the previous year. During the holiday season as a whole, small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. sold nearly one billion products in Amazon’s store.
- Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon has incurred more than $5 billion in operational costs on behalf of independent businesses selling in Amazon’s store, and expects to invest billions more through 2021. In 2020, Amazon increased square footage across its fulfillment and logistics network by 50%, dedicated 60% of fulfillment center capacity to seller products, and postponed annual selling fee adjustments until June 2021.
- As part of the AWS Activate program, Amazon provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits during 2020 to help early stage startups launch their businesses and accelerate their growth. With this help, startups are using scalable, reliable, and secure cloud services like compute, storage, database, analytics, Internet of Things, machine learning, and many others from AWS to scale their businesses.
- Amazon launched small business accelerator programs across Europe to help entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed in the digital world. These programs offer free access to online training, expert advice, live events, and services, and they include the Amazon Small Business Accelerator in the UK, Quickstart-Online in Germany, Despega in Spain, Accelera con Amazon in Italy, and Accelerateur du Numerique in France. The programs are delivered in collaboration with associations and universities, and they have already supported tens of thousands of small businesses.
- In December, Amazon India hosted Small Business Day, an event to increase visibility and sales for entrepreneurs and small businesses selling in Amazon’s store. Over 55,000 sellers from over 4,000 Postal Index Codes benefitted from Small Business Day, and over 1,500 sellers had their highest ever day of sales on Amazon.
- In 2020, thousands of independent authors earned more than $50,000 through Kindle Direct Publishing, with more than 1,000 authors surpassing $100,000 in royalties.
- In 2020, authors using Amazon’s self-publishing service Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) earned more than $370 million in royalties from their participation in Kindle Unlimited. KDP authors have earned more than $1.5 billion from participation in Kindle Unlimited since 2014.
Shopping and Entertainment
- Thanks to customers, employees, and selling partners, Amazon had a record-breaking holiday season, delivering more than a billion toys, home, fashion, electronics, beauty, and personal care products to customers worldwide.
- Amazon Pharmacy launched in the U.S., bringing prescription medications to customers’ doorsteps. Customers can now browse medications, create a secure pharmacy profile, and request or manage prescriptions on Amazon.com. Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day delivery on Amazon Pharmacy orders with their membership.
- Amazon launched a new Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit, which brings pharmacy savings to customers who pay without insurance and can be used at 50,000 participating pharmacies nationwide.
- Amazon Fashion introduced Made For You, a way for customers to design custom T-shirts to their exact measurements and style preferences. For just $25, U.S. shoppers can customize a T-shirt’s fit, fabric, color, sleeve length, shirt length, neckline, and back-neck label.
- Amazon India’s Great Indian Festival shopping event focused on enabling the revival of small and medium-sized businesses and helping customers, even in remote areas of the country, shop safely and conveniently from their homes. During the month-long event, customers purchased items from over 110,000 sellers, the majority of whom were from rural towns.
- Hudson, a travel experience leader with over 1,000 stores across North America, announced it will use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in select travel convenience stores. Just Walk Out technology enables shoppers to enter a store, grab what they want, and just go. The first Hudson store with Just Walk Out technology is planned to open in early 2021 at Dallas Love Field Airport, with additional stores coming later this year.
- Amazon Fresh grocery stores expanded into seven new communities in the U.S.: Irvine, CA; Ladera Heights, CA; Naperville, IL; North Hollywood, CA; Northridge, CA; Schaumburg, IL; and Whittier, CA. To support the continued growth, Amazon is hiring thousands of grocery associates across Chicagoland, the greater Los Angeles area, and Seattle.
- Amazon was identified as the best overall grocery retailer by dunnhumby Retailer Preference Index that ranks the top 57 grocery retailers in the U.S. based on an annual survey of 10,000 U.S. households. The survey also placed Amazon at the top of the list for customer safety ratings.
- Amazon Music signed an agreement to acquire innovative podcast publisher, Wondery. Through this acquisition, Amazon Music aims to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe. Wondery will be able to provide more high-quality, innovative content, continuing their mission of bringing a world of entertainment and knowledge to their audiences, wherever they listen. The acquisition is not yet closed and is subject to customary closing conditions.
- Prime Video continues to launch Amazon Original series and movies globally. Amazon Original movie Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, starring Sacha Baron Cohen, generated tens of millions of customer streams globally on opening weekend. Other popular Amazon Original movies include Uncle Frank, Sylvie’s Love, Sound of Metal, and I’m Your Woman. Prime Video members also enjoyed new and returning Amazon Original series and specials such as What the Constitution Means to Me, Utopia, Truth Seekers, The Pack, Small Axe, The Wilds, The Expanse, Yearly Departed, and the final season of Vikings. Internationally, locally produced Amazon Originals debuting included FERRO (Italy), El Cid (Spain), The Challenge: ETA (Spain), BILD.Macht.Deutschland? (Germany), Binge Reloaded (Germany), Truth Seekers (UK), The Grand Tour: A Massive Hunt (UK), All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur (UK), The Bachelorette (Japan), Mirzapur (India), and Locas por el Cambio (Mexico).
- The fourth quarter marked Prime Video’s strongest viewership for live sports globally. In the U.S., Prime Video’s exclusive coverage of the San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals game on December 26 drew an estimated 11.2 million total viewers and delivered the highest digital average-minute-audience ever for an NFL regular season game. In the UK, the number of customers tuning into live Premier League football grew for the second season as millions watched 22 live and exclusive matches on Prime Video. In addition, millions of Prime members streamed live, international rugby for the first-ever Autumn Nations Cup tournament; and in India, Prime Video announced its first foray into live sports, with the acquisition of India territory rights for New Zealand Cricket through 2025-26.
- Amazon Studios announced deals for upcoming Prime Video series and movies, including the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming 2 America, which premieres in March on Prime Video globally and an unscripted docuseries and new coming-of-age series based on Jessica Simpson’s best-selling memoir Open Book.
Amazon Devices and Services
- Amazon announced that Fire TV now reaches more than 50 million monthly active users around the world. Amazon also secured new content deals with premium streaming providers, including HBO Max, discovery+, and Xfinity in the U.S.; Disney+ in Mexico and Brazil; NOW TV in the UK; and CANAL+ in France. The new Fire TV Experience released globally includes a redesigned Home Screen, Profiles, and a new voice-first experience with Alexa to easily discover content.
- Zoox revealed the first look at their fully functional, electric, autonomous vehicle, which features bi-directional driving and is capable of speeds up to 75 miles per hour.
- Amazon announced Alexa Custom Assistant, a new service that lets device makers, auto makers, and service providers create custom-branded voice assistants that are powered by and work in cooperation with Alexa. The Alexa Custom Assistant can be built into automobiles and consumer electronics, including smart displays, speakers, set top boxes, fitness devices, and more, providing a complete, managed voice solution that substantially reduces cost, complexity, and time to market.
- Amazon continued to make progress on Project Kuiper, a low earth orbit satellite constellation that will increase broadband access for unserved and underserved communities around the world. In December, the team revealed designs for the Ka-band phased array antenna that will be used in its customer terminal. The antenna is smaller and lighter than legacy designs, allowing Amazon to produce a customer terminal that is more affordable and easier to install.
- Ring introduced general availability of its new Mailbox Sensor to customers, launched Customizable Motion Zones for all battery-powered Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras, and became the first major smart home security company to offer Video End-to-End Encryption. Additionally, Ring announced Ring Video Doorbell Wired, its smallest doorbell yet, and availability of the Ring Alarm in Spain.
- Amazon took another step toward making interactions with Alexa more natural, and skills more discoverable, by introducing a new capability that infers customers’ latent goals-goals that are implicit in customer requests but not directly expressed-and seamlessly transitions to a relevant skill without requiring the name of the skill, or repeating the same information across skills.
- Key by Amazon’s In-Garage Delivery service expanded to tens of millions of Prime members in over 4,000 cities in the U.S., enabling them to enjoy free, contactless, and secure package delivery conveniently inside their garage to keep packages safe.
- Amazon announced the first Alexa built-in commercial trucking integration in Volvo Trucks in the EU; the first integration in Brazil with BMW’s BMWi and MINI cars; and new vehicle launches with Dodge Durango, Chrysler Pacifica, Fiat 500 electric, and Acura MDX. Additionally, new Alexa integrations were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including Harman, Intel, Lenovo, TP-Link, Rise Gardens, and more.
- Alexa added Netflix to its global roster of streaming service providers for Echo Show customers, giving them more at-home entertainment options. Amazon also added podcast support to Alexa from services like Amazon Music, Apple, and Spotify in more countries around the world.
- Alexa became more multilingual, allowing members of a household to interact with Alexa in two different languages without needing to change the settings. In the U.S., multilingual mode allows bilingual customers to code-switch from English to Spanish, and vice versa. Amazon also launched multilingual mode in new languages and countries including Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Japan.
- Amazon added new Alexa features that make customers’ daily lives more convenient, including the ability to share a shopping list with Alexa contacts by voice, video calling on Fire TV, and new Alexa Routines on Fire TV.
Amazon Web Services
- AWS announced significant customer momentum during the quarter with new commitments and migrations spanning major industries, including financial services with JPMorgan Chase, Ita Unibanco (Latin America’s largest bank), Standard Chartered Bank, and Nationwide; media and entertainment with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Thomson Reuters, and ViacomCBS; technology with Arm and Twitter; travel with Boom Technology, Inc. (Boom Supersonic) and Star Alliance (the world’s largest airline alliance); retail and e-commerce with Mercado Libre (Latin America’s largest online commerce and payments provider) and Zalando (Europe’s largest online fashion and lifestyle platform); power and utilities with Siemens Smart Infrastructure (a Siemens AG business group that focuses on energy distribution and intelligent buildings); and automotive with The BMW Group, as well as a multi-year, global agreement to develop and market BlackBerry’s Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform, IVY.
- At AWS re:Invent, Amazon’s ninth-annual learning conference for the global cloud computing and information technology communities, AWS attracted over 570,000 registered attendees and announced 180 new services and features, including:
- The industry’s first cloud-based Mac instances (EC2 Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) that enable customers to develop, scale, and run macOS workloads in AWS.
- Five new services that push the envelope on price performance and extend Amazon EC2’s lead as the broadest and deepest portfolio of compute instances in the cloud, including Graviton2-powered C6gn instances that provide 40% better price performance for networking and compute-intensive workloads over comparable current generation x86-based instances, AMD-powered G4ad Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) instances that offer the industry’s best price performance for graphics-intensive applications, M5zn instances that deliver the fastest Intel Xeon Scalable processors in the cloud, Intel-powered D3/D3en instances that offer the highest storage capacity for local HDD storage in the cloud, and memory-optimized R5b instances that deliver the fastest block storage performance available for Amazon EC2.
- Nine new capabilities for Amazon SageMaker that make it even easier for developers and data scientists to prepare, build, train, deploy, and manage machine learning models.
- Five new services for industrial customers that use machine learning to improve operational efficiency, quality control, security, and workplace safety. Amazon Monitron and Amazon Lookout for Equipment use sensor data to enable predictive maintenance. The AWS Panorama Appliance and SDK use computer vision to improve product quality and workplace safety. And, Amazon Lookout for Vision uses computer vision to spot anomalies and flaws in products and processes.
- Amazon HealthLake, a HIPAA-eligible service, enables healthcare organizations to aggregate all their data from disparate locations in various formats, transform that data into a consistent format, store it, and provide easy ways to analyze that data in AWS.
- Five new capabilities for AWS’s rapidly-growing contact center service, Amazon Connect, that significantly improve contact center agents’ productivity and customers’ experiences.
- AQUA (Advanced Query Accelerator) for Amazon Redshift provides an innovative new hardware-accelerated cache that delivers up to 10x better query performance than any other cloud data warehouse.
- AWS Glue Elastic Views lets developers easily build materialized views that automatically combine and replicate data across storage, data warehouses, and databases.
- Amazon QuickSight Q delivers a machine learning-powered capability for Amazon QuickSight that lets users type questions about their business data in natural language and receive highly accurate answers in seconds.
- Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes deliver the first storage area network (SAN) built for the cloud, with up to 256,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), 4,000 MB/second throughput, and 64 TB of capacity.
- Amazon EBS Gp3 volumes give customers the ability to provision additional IOPS and throughput performance independent of storage capacity, provide up to 4x peak throughput, and are priced 20% lower per GB than the previous general purpose EBS volumes.
- Four new container services to help customers develop, deploy, and scale modern applications in the cloud and on-premises: Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) Anywhere and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) Anywhere enable customers to run Amazon ECS and Amazon EKS in their own data centers, AWS Proton automates container and serverless application development and deployment, and Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR) Public provides developers an easy and highly available way to share and deploy container software publicly.
- The next version of Aurora Serverless, Aurora Serverless v2, scales to hundreds of thousands of database transactions in a fraction of a second, delivering up to 90% cost savings compared to provisioning infrastructure for peak capacity.
- Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL provides a new capability for Amazon Aurora that allows database customers to run SQL Server applications directly on Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL with little to no code changes (also, a new open source Babelfish for PostgreSQL will be available for all PostgreSQL database users in 2021).
- Two new observability services for containers, IoT, and operational data, Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus and Amazon Managed Service for Grafana, built on popular open source projects to help customers monitor and visualize modern applications at scale.
- AWS continued to expand its infrastructure footprint around the world, announcing the AWS Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region, available by mid-2022, and the AWS Europe (Zurich) Region and AWS Asia Pacific (Melbourne) Regions, available in the second half of 2022. AWS provides 77 Availability Zones (AZs) within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for 18 more Availability Zones in six more AWS Regions, including regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain, as well as the recently pre-announced regions in India, Switzerland, and Australia.
- New AWS Local Zones in Boston, Houston, and Miami place AWS infrastructure close to end users in metropolitan centers, so customers can access low-latency compute, storage, and database services without needing to provision or maintain datacenter space. AWS also announced the availability of AWS Local Zones in 12 additional cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle) coming in 2021.
- AWS announced two new smaller AWS Outposts form factors (1U and 2U servers) that give customers access to AWS on-premises in space-constrained locations, such as branch offices, factories, hospitals, cell towers, or retail stores.
- AWS announced the general availability of Amazon EC2 P4d instances, the next generation of accelerated computing instances powered by NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and AWS petabit-scale networking. P4d instances provide up to 3x faster time to train and 60% lower cost than previous generation instances for machine learning training and high-performance computing in the cloud. EC2 P4d instances are also the only instances in the cloud to feature UltraCluster capability, enabling customers to scale to 2x the computing power as any other cloud provider.
- AWS announced AWS Trainium, an AWS-designed machine learning training chip that will deliver the most cost-effective training in the cloud. AWS Trainium will deliver the most teraflops of any machine learning training instance in the cloud, support all major frameworks (including TensorFlow, PytTorch, and MXnet), and use the same Neuron SDK used by AWS Inferentia (an AWS-designed chip for machine learning inference acceleration), making it easy for customers to get started training quickly with AWS Trainium. AWS Trainium is coming to Amazon EC2 and Amazon SageMaker in the second half of 2021.