Amazon reported earnings on Thursday, and clearly investors were happy. In after-hours trading, the company's stock was up 12 percent at one point, adding $100 billion in market cap and pushing the company past a $1 trillion valuation. That's a big number, but it turns out it's not even the most important number. In fact, there are three numbers that are far more important to understanding why Amazon is dominating basically everything right now.
The first number worth looking at is 150 million, which is how many people Amazon says have Prime memberships. That's an astonishing number of people paying $119 a year for benefits like one-day shipping, Prime Video, and Prime Music. When you do the math, that adds up to almost $18 billion of revenue just from recurring subscriptions.
Granted, Prime includes plenty of expenses for Amazon, most notably the content it licenses and produces for Prime Video, and the growing cost of building out its own shipping network. Amazon says it spent $1.5 billion on one-day shipping expenses in the last quarter, but it clearly sees those expenses as a worthwhile tradeoff for driving sales.
Amazon's Prime Membership is one of its most powerful tools to keep competitors at bay. Not only that, but benefits like one-day shipping have forced those competitors to change their strategy, showing just how dominant Amazon really is.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is not only the leader in cloud-computing, it generates $10 billion in revenue for the company. More important, it contributed $2.6 billion to Amazon's bottom line, accounting for two-thirds of the company's $3.3 billion in total net income. While growth of AWS has slowed some, it was still up 34 percent over the previous year.
AWS is increasingly one of Amazon's most important businesses, not only because it generates higher margins than the online retail division, but because of the growing market for cloud-based computing and data services. In fact, AWS powers a huge amount of the internet, including Netflix, LinkedIn, Adobe, Slack, NASDAQ, and ESPN.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that unlike most of its competition, Amazon had a blowout holiday season. While companies like Target and Kohl's missed expectations, Amazon set records last quarter, bringing in $87.44 billion for the three months ending December 31, 2019.
That represents a 21 percent increase over the same time period in 2018. Much of Amazon's growth in retail is attributed to the company's increasing focus on selling and fulfilling third-party products. Amazon says these small- and medium-size businesses sold over one billion items during the holiday season. You could even make the case that those sales are the most important for the company, and represent the greatest area of growth.
That's especially true considering that third-party sales also generate additional revenue for Amazon, including advertising. Amazon is already the third largest advertising platform, and it will continue to grow based on numbers like this one.