Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, declared the more than double record-breaking profit of $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter that ended in December 31. One of the main reasons behind this profit was a provisional $789 million boost the company received from the U.S. republican tax bill which that passed in December.
Company executives pushed the sales of devices powered by its voice assistant Alexa. CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t discuss the specific numbers, but he said that “Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them,” added Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder. “We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.”
Amazon’s sales continued to rise during the holiday quarter, as many customers signed up for its fast-delivery Prime program and bought its voice-activated device Echo. The company also noted huge contributions from its advertising business and its cloud-computing service known as Amazon Web Services. During the holiday quarter, sales went up by 38%, to $60.5 billion in the quarter, beating estimates.
Amazon employed nearly 130,000 people globally in 2017, excluding their acquisitions. The company claimed to have shipped more than 5 billion items last year as part of its Prime subscription program. More new members have joined Amazon Prime in 2017 than in any other year, both in the United States and worldwide.
According to analysts at Cowen & Cowen, the figure is expected to rise this quarter, as the company has recently raised the fee for their monthly Prime plans, which will affect around 30% of subscribers.
According to Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s CFO, Amazon’s voice aid Alexa was the main star of the last quarter. It came pre-installed in the company’s Echo Speakers and Fire TV players, and the assistant was also added in some automobiles and household gadgets. Millions of customers ordered Alexa enabled appliances last year. He also mentioned that advertising was a key contributor to the company’s growing profit margin.