Amazon Thursday reported better-than-expected revenue and profits for the fourth quarter, driven by strong consumer spending during the holiday shopping season.
The Seattle-based e-commerce company said it earned $170 billion in revenue and $10.6 billion in profits during the last three months of 2023, beating expectations from analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Amazon (AMZN) stock was up 6% in after-hours trading as of 4:40 p.m. EST.
In a statement, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy called it a “record-breaking” holiday shopping season for Amazon.
During the same period in 2022, the company had made $149.2 billion in revenue and $300 million in profits due to a write-down of the value of its stock investment in electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive.
Despite challenges posed from increasing credit card debt and delinquencies, along with higher prices and borrowing costs, U.S. consumer spending was up in November and December, following a slip in October after six straight months of gains.
Like other retailers, Amazon aimed to lure holiday shoppers through fast-shipping and discount events, including a prominent sales event for Prime members held in October. The company said its online retail business earned $70.5 billion in revenue during the quarter, a 9% jump compared to $64.53 billion during the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS earned $24.2 billion.
Generative artificial intelligence is a major area of focus for Amazon, which initially appeared to be falling behind the AI arms race sparked by San Francisco startup OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT in late 2022. But the tech company has since been making investments to capitalize on the surging public and business interest in new AI tools.
Roughly an hour before it released its earnings on Thursday, Amazon announced a new generative AI-powered shopping assistant called Rufus. The company – which has also integrated AI-generated summaries of product reviews into its online shopping site – says Rufus will answer customer questions on products and help them discover new items.
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