Trebled profits Amazon’s reward for pandemic behaviour shift
Amazon has reported a tripling of profits in the first quarter of 2021, spurred by changing habits in the age of COVID-19.
Pandemic shopping habits
There’s little doubt that the pandemic has ultimately helped the tech giant’s business, which has its fingers in many of the sectors that have seen a boost - for instance video streaming and grocery delivery.
Accordingly, quarterly revenue rose from $75bn last year to $108.5bn, with other highlights including profits of $8.1bn - up from $2.5bn in 2020’s Q1.
“Strong customer demand globally”
Brian Olsavsky, Chief Financial Officer, : “We continue to see strong customer demand globally in the first quarter. Revenue growth in our international segment grew 50% on an FX-neutral basis year over year in Q1 as restrictive regional and national lockdowns were in place throughout the quarter, particularly in the UK and Europe. In North America, revenue growth of 39% largely reflects the continuation of demand trends that we have seen since the early months of the pandemic. Third-party sellers were largely comprised of small- and medium-sized businesses, continue to see strong sales and serve more customers.”
Another important piece of the Amazon puzzle is its AWS cloud company, about which CEO Jeff Bezos : “In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales run rate business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating—up 32% year over year. Companies from Airbnb to McDonald’s to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf.”
The news follows similarly excellent results from fellow tech giants like Apple and Google-parent Alphabet, all of whom have reported large revenue increases thanks in part to the pandemic.
Change is afoot at the company, with founder Jeff Bezos stepping down as CEO this summer to assume the role of Executive Chairman.
The Online Safety Bill: What is it and what does it mean?
New internet laws will be published today in the UK in the draft Online Safety Bill to protect children online and tackle some of the worst abuse on social media, including racist hate crimes.
The draft legislation, which was previously known as the Online Harms Bill, has been two years in the making. Some new additions to the bill include provisions to tackle online scams, such as romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.
What does it include?
The draft Bill includes changes to put an end to harmful practices and brings in a new era of accountability and protections for democratic debate, including:
New additions to strengthen people’s rights to express themselves freely online, while protecting journalism and democratic political debate in the UK.
Further provisions to tackle prolific online scams such as romance fraud, which have seen people manipulated into sending money to fake identities on dating apps.
Social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online must remove and limit the spread of illegal and harmful content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and suicide content.
Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies failing in a new duty of care up to £18 million or ten per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher, and have the power to block access to sites.
A new criminal offence for senior managers has been included as a deferred power. This could be introduced at a later date if tech firms don’t step up their efforts to improve safety.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Today the UK shows global leadership with our groundbreaking laws to usher in a new age of accountability for tech and bring fairness and accountability to the online world.
“We will protect children on the internet, crack down on racist abuse on social media, and through new measures to safeguard our liberties, create a truly democratic digital age.
The draft Bill will be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs before a final version is formally introduced to Parliament.