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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nasdaq  >  Amazon.com, Inc.    AMZN


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Coronavirus Hobbled Amazon. Then the Tech Giant Bounced Back.

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08/06/2020 | 06:15am EDT

By Sebastian Herrera and Merrill Sherman

Amazon.com Inc. just reported its greatest quarter ever, but getting there wasn't easy. The coronavirus pandemic brought enormous challenges to the tech giant early on, tripping it up in a way rarely seen in its history.

Delivery times and customer reviews slipped, essential items were unavailable in some areas, and worker absences created extended challenges. For the first time in years, the company's share of e-commerce in the U.S. actually fell.

But as the virus raged on, Amazon spent billions of dollars on its response, hiring workers, increasing pay, improving delivery times, conducting medical tests for employees and stabilizing its supply chain. Its share of online sales has already begun to rebound.

Investors are confident that the consumer habits brought about by the coronavirus will endure and ultimately make Amazon more powerful. The e-commerce juggernaut has added more than $700 billion to its market value since its March lows, or about the size of Facebook Inc. Its market capitalization now exceeds $1.5 trillion, behind only Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. among public companies.

Amazon Delivery Times and Reviews Slip

Many of Amazon's temporary shortcomings during the pandemic came about because the company wasn't prepared to handle the boost in demand it saw. While it still led competitors overall in package delivery times, its famed shipping speeds slipped.

The company had to extend shipping windows by days for essential products and even longer for nonessential items. Best Buy Co., Target Corp. and others sometimes beat Amazon in how fast they got products to customers.

Amazon's supply problems and delivery speeds caused frustration among customers and led to a rare surge in negative reviews of the company.

Amazon Web Traffic Falls

Amazon's troubles led shoppers to visit other e-commerce sites. As Amazon's web traffic decreased, Walmart Inc., Target and the online furniture store Wayfair Inc. saw traffic climb.

Amazon's inventory relies on keeping fewer items in stock to speed up efficiency, making it different from traditional retailers, which have varying inventory levels at their stores. The system works well when demand holds steady, but it can be stretched if there is a rush for which the company is unprepared, which happened in the first weeks of the pandemic. As it tried to control its supply chain, Amazon removed certain features, such as online coupons from its website, to encourage shoppers to buy less.

Pandemic Changes Shopping

E-commerce has seen unprecedented acceleration during the pandemic. Besides Walmart and Target, smaller companies such as the grocery delivery firm Instacart have had record growth in sales. Shopify Inc., an e-commerce platform that sells businesses a variety of tools to make it easier to operate online stores, has more than doubled its stock price since the beginning of March.

Investors see Amazon, which accounts for more than a third of online U.S. sales, as the biggest winner. Amazon made a record $88.9 billion in sales during its second quarter, and its nonretail businesses continue to lift earnings for the company.

Logistics Stabilize

Although Amazon's operations were weakened, investor confidence remains high because of the company's significant investment in logistics and delivery capabilities. Amazon has built many more fulfillment and delivery stations than competitors. It also continues to expand its delivery-vehicle and airline fleets, creating greater capacity for it to manage more of its own deliveries.

Amazon Falters, Then Gains

The company's dominant grip on online sales weakened after demand on its site reached holiday-like levels during the first weeks of the crisis. Many items on Amazon became unavailable for weeks, forcing customers to look to other companies.

Walmart, Target and Best Buy, all of which invested substantially in their online operations in past years, benefited from Amazon's problems.

Amazon's share of U.S. online shopping, however, has been back on the rise as its operations have stabilized. The company's profit in the April-to-June period doubled from a year earlier to $5.2 billion, in part because it shipped more products than it had expected.

Amazon's Market Value Soars

Big Tech is thriving during the pandemic. And among the world's biggest tech companies, Amazon's market value has surged since the beginning of March, rising more than 60%.

--Additional graphics by Kurt Wilberding

Write to Sebastian Herrera at Sebastian.Herrera@wsj.com


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMAZON.COM, INC. 2.49% 3095.13 Delayed Quote.67.50%
APPLE INC. 3.75% 112.28 Delayed Quote.52.96%
BEST BUY CO., INC 1.15% 105.97 Delayed Quote.20.69%
FACEBOOK 2.12% 254.82 Delayed Quote.24.15%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION 2.28% 207.82 Delayed Quote.28.85%
SHOPIFY INC. 5.76% 960.92 Delayed Quote.141.69%
TARGET CORPORATION 1.55% 154.35 Delayed Quote.20.39%
WALMART INC. 0.42% 137.27 Delayed Quote.15.51%
WAYFAIR INC. 3.48% 293.74 Delayed Quote.225.04%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 369 B - -
Net income 2020 15 942 M - -
Net cash 2020 51 861 M - -
P/E ratio 2020 98,8x
Yield 2020 -
Capitalization 1 550 B 1 550 B -
EV / Sales 2020 4,07x
EV / Sales 2021 3,39x
Nbr of Employees 798 000
Free-Float 81,3%
Duration : Period :
Amazon.com, Inc. Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
Full-screen chart
Technical analysis trends AMAZON.COM, INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 54
Average target price 3 672,84 $
Last Close Price 3 095,13 $
Spread / Highest target 35,7%
Spread / Average Target 18,7%
Spread / Lowest Target -18,4%
EPS Revisions
Jeffrey P. Bezos Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Dave Clark Senior Vice President-Worldwide Operations
Brian T. Olsavsky Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
Patricia Q. Stonesifer Independent Director
Thomas O. Ryder Independent Director
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