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Amazon Earnings: Sources Say Significant Sales Surge

28 January 2016

From Seeking Alpha:

  • Amazon is set to announce Q4 earnings Thursday, 1/28, after the close.
  • From multiple sources, it appears Amazon experienced significant retail sales growth during the quarter.
  • Sources also seem to indicate that 2015 holiday retail sales growth outpaced 2014 holiday retail sales growth.
  • The consensus estimate for 22.7% revenue growth, however, seems fully baked with these strong retail growth tailwinds.
  • The $1.58 consensus EPS estimate represents more than a 3x Y/Y increase, and we are equally uncertain of the company’s ability to top this number.

. . . .

From multiple sources, it appears Amazon experienced significant retail sales growth during the quarter. We further believe sources indicate that 2015 holiday retail sales growth was stronger than 2014 holiday retail sales growth.

. . . .

Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday sales were exceptionally strong this year. Amazon reported that sales of its own devices rose 3x Y/Y during that weekend, with Amazon Fire TV sales up over 6x Y/Y. Amazon Echo, on its first Black Friday, was the top seller across all $100+ products on Amazon.com. The new Fire tablet’s $49.99 list price is proving to be in impulse buy range for consumers, as tablet sales during the Thanksgiving weekend were up 3x Y/Y.

. . . .

According to a separate press release by the company, Amazon said that third-party sellers on their website saw Cyber Monday orders rise over 40% Y/Y to more than 23 million. Confirming this growth, ChannelAdvisors reported that Amazon’s Thanksgiving through Black Friday same-store sales rose 24.1% Y/Y. This is slightly better than the 23.8% increase ChannelAdvisors reported last year for Amazon during the same five-day stretch.

. . . .

On a larger scale, comScore estimates that total digital spend on Cyber Monday was up 21% Y/Y in 2015, driven by a 53% increase in mobile commerce. comScore further found that 107.8 million Americans visited online retail properties on Cyber Monday using a desktop, smartphone, or tablet, a 23% Y/Y increase.

Link to the rest at Seeking Alpha


14 Comments to “Amazon Earnings: Sources Say Significant Sales Surge”

  1. I did my holiday shopping mostly online (I bought wines, choco and cakes at a local Italian market). Even my party dress–25 bucks on sale at Amazon. Didn’t step into the mall once.

  2. What I’d REALLY like to know it how much of that is from books, e and print.

    Is Amazon’s general profit ahead or behind its book business profit, and how much, roughly, is that?

    I really don’t care if they are making a lot more money now because they deliver shoes.

    With more and more authors pouring into the publishing business, is there also an increase in books sold?

    Just curious.

    • Relatively little by now.
      Amazon has been growing at 20-25% annually for the last three years or so while trade book sales have been mostly flat since before Kindle. Most of the “growth” has come from price hikes, consolidation, and format mix changes (more trade paperback and ebook, less mass market paperback). Now, factor in Indie ebooks capturing 15% of the total trade book market and it is easy to see a possible dollar value decline.

      Look at it this way: the BPHs’ total sales (everywhere) adds up to $9B a year and Amazon is closing in on $100B a year in sales. Works out to about 5%, max.

      • Thanks, Felix.

        So a shrinking, or at least not increasing rapidly publishing ‘pie’ to share among a rapidly increasing bunch of diners.

        At least KU works out well for me – I can see a lot of those new readers going to a subscription model. I would, if I had the time.

        • Pretty much.
          And the biggest donors of market share are the BPHs and specifically: bestsellers. It takes a lot less sales now to make the top 10 on an honest best seller list than in olden days.
          On the ebook side this is reflected (according to one of the discussions here about Author Earnings) in that the number of ebook sales needed to achieve a given top rank in a category has been relatively stable over the last couple of years but in the next tier down (say 50-100 or lower) it has been steadily going up. People aren’t flocking to the top sellers as they used to; with a bigger selection, they are spreading their buys more widely and the benefits of a growing ebook market are going to the midlist.
          That is good and proper. 😉

          Of course, that means it is becoming harder to build up bandwagon momentum for monster sellers. Which hits the BPHs really hard as they’ve become increasingly dependent on top rank sellers for their profits.

          Boo. Hoo. 🙂

    • Is Amazon’s general profit ahead or behind its book business profit, and how much, roughly, is that?

      We don’t know profit for the book line, and Amazon’s use of cash flow to fund new ventures makes profit a poor measure. But, we don’t know cash flow by line either.

      Books appear to be just another product category for Amazon.

      In very rough terms, Amazon’s total revenue is running appx four times the total revenue for all US publishing.

  3. *polishes fingernails on shirt front* That’s because of my new releases in November and December. I totally made the sales surge happen.

    And I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I’d be happy to entertain offers for. I’m also familiar with a gent who is selling ocean front property in Southern North Dakota (near the University’s Hoople campus) and I’d be delighted to put you in contact with him for a small fee. 😉

  4. I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere, but my sense is that e-book sales are down considerably, and print books outsell e-books.

    My evidence is that my novel sells only 3-5 copies per day (not counting “pages read”) and it’s been consistently ranked in the 2,000 — which puts it in the top .05% of the Kindle store.

    Meanwhile, I have first-hand knowledge of a paperback book (not mine, but I helped work on it) that sells around 500 copies per month, and has a sales rank of 10,000-20,000 in the physical book store.

    In other words, it takes huge sales numbers to crack a 10,000 rank for a paperback. But it takes only a handful of sales to crack that rank in the Kindle store.

    • My evidence is that my novel sells only 3-5 copies per day (not counting “pages read”) and it’s been consistently ranked in the 2,000

      That is a massive contradiction from Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings data (an ebook I was looking up is ranked #3,514, which is supposed to average 60 sales a day, acc’d to their Sept ’15 data).

      Michael Anderle, who was interviewed recently on the Author Biz podcast, recites sales figures there that indicate he’s nearing $15K in sales this month alone for his five-book series, which are ranked between 3,500 and 5,300 on the Zon.

      (The figure includes sales, and KU downloads, which is figured into the book’s rank.)

      • Hello Bill– It is weird to me, too. I don’t discuss my sales numbers in public, hence staying anonymous. I wish there was a way I could post a screen shot here of my KDP dashboard. But my book has been consistently ranked in the top 2,000 since my last free giveaway in mid-December. The most it has ever sold in a day during that time is 8 copies. My “pages read” are between 2,000 and 4,000 per day.

        In years past (I’ve been in the game a long time), it took many more sales to rank this high. This year, it’s taking hardly any. My income is low this year, but sales rank is high.

    • On paper.

      Wall Street is funny that way.
      They blew past all competition, reported the biggest quarterly profit ever, and sold almost $36B in product but since they didn’t exceed expectations the stock got dinged.
      Same thing happened to Apple a year or so back; record sales were ignored and only the “shortfall” considered.

      Don’t think Bezos is crying.

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