Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) has, by some measures, as much as a third of the e-commerce revenue in America. The 2020 holidays should be a windfall of revenue for the company. It has hired as many as 400,000 workers for the rise in its sales due to the pandemic, and holiday expectations. New research shows that even the most optimistic predictions about its fourth-quarter revenue could be wrong–on the downside.
The carefully followed data from Adobe Analytics shows that online spending for the holidays could rise as much as 47% to $200 billion in the last two months of the year compared to the same period a year ago. This figure will be pushed up, in part by the rapid spread of COVID-19. John Copeland, VP of marketing and customer insights at Adobe,” said, “The holiday shopping season is starting earlier than ever this year, and we expect record online sales as many consumers opt to shop online to avoid stores because of the unknown around COVID-19.”
The Adobe forecast has started to come true. According to CNBC, “Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.” Cyber Monday sales are expected to be even better.
Against this background, Amazon’s own forecast may be too pessimistic. When it reported earnings for the third quarter, it issued this guidance: “Net sales are expected to be between $112.0 billion and $121.0 billion, or to grow between 28% and 38% compared with fourth quarter 2019. This guidance anticipates a favorable impact of approximately 90 basis points from foreign exchange rates.” If it matched the Adobe forecast, the number may be as high as $140 billion. At that run rate, Amazon would be as large as Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT)
Part of Amazon’s revenue comes from Amazon Web Services, but it is still mostly an e-commerce company. Despite its size, its growth in that area remain explosive, and probably more explosive than most realize.