Amazon announced its fourth quarter sales for 2019 and the online behemoth continued to grow. Net sales for the quarter ending December 31, 2018 reached $72.4 billion, a year over year increase of 20 percent.
Those are enviable numbers, but there are signs Amazon’s hearty growth is slowing. Fourth quarter 2017 saw an even bigger boom, with a 38 percent jump in business from the prior year. The Q4 number was also slightly off pace for 2018 as a whole. Amazon logged net sales of $232.9 billion for the year, up 31 percent from 2017.
A large portion of Amazon’s business is coming from third-party sellers. According to the company, more than 50 percent of the items sold during the holiday season were from small and medium-sized businesses using Amazon as a platform to reach consumers. That component of Amazon’s business model is growing faster than direct sales, which could lead to some adjustments.
“More than half of our units sold are from third-party sellers,” Brian T. Olsavsky, senior VP and CFO of Amazon, noted in a conference call following the earnings report. “So it's very important to us that we have the right business profile, both for Amazon and for the sellers. So we will always be evolving that. Part of that involves changing fee structures, sometimes adding new fees or subtracting old ones. Part of it involves raising or lowering fees that sellers pay. So you're going to see this continually from us.”
Even as Amazon leaders touted a bevy of company landmarks, they offered a slightly cautious outlook for the start of 2019. Sales for the first quarter are projected to be between $56 and $60 billion, which would be 10 to 18 percent above the same quarter last year.
Main image: In this Dec. 5, 2018, photo a box is scanned and weighed before at the Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island borough of New York. Amazon reports financial results Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)