Is Amazon an Ad Business Now?

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Amazon.com announced its fourth-quarter results. It is increasingly taking market share from Google and Facebook, the long-time digital advertising kingpins.

Amazon does not break out specific financials for advertising, but its “Other” category primarily includes sales of advertising services. Revenue for that category has skyrocketed over the past few years, now making up more than 7% of Amazon’s total revenue and helping fuel its bottom line given the high-profit margins in digital advertising.

A report from Jungle Scout found that 74% of consumers begin their product searches on Amazon.

Shopping highlights from the report;

  •   Amazon had its biggest-ever Black Friday to Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend, with apparel, beauty, home, and toys among the top-selling categories. During the holiday season, third-party sellers—most of which are small and medium-sized businesses—achieved record worldwide sales in Amazon’s store. More than 130,000 third-party sellers worldwide surpassed $100,000 in sales on Amazon, and between Black Friday and Christmas, U.S.-based third-party sellers sold an average of 11,500 products per minute. In addition, Amazon India’s month-long Great Indian Festival sales event was the biggest shopping celebration ever for sellers and brand partners on Amazon.in, with nearly 30,000 sellers surpassing $100,000 in sales.
  •   Prime members are taking advantage of program benefits in record numbers. In 2021, members in the U.S. received more than 6 billion free deliveries, and over 200 million Prime members worldwide streamed shows and movies.
  •   Amazon Style, Amazon’s first-ever physical store for apparel, will open this year at The Americana at Brand, a top shopping destination in greater Los Angeles. Amazon Style is built around personalization and innovation. It uses machine learning algorithms to produce tailored recommendations in real-time as customers shop, making it easier than ever to discover new looks. At Amazon Style, customers will be able to have items sent to a fitting room with the tap of a button in the Amazon app and continue shopping from their fitting room without having to leave.
  •   The first Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go store opened in New York City. With this new store concept, customers can order a handcrafted Starbucks beverage or food item for pickup through the Starbucks app and grab food items from the Amazon Go market, all in one convenient location without having to wait in line to pay. Starbucks and Amazon Go plan to open two more stores in 2022, with the next location planned for The New York Times Building in New York City.
  •   UK grocer Sainsbury’s opened SmartShop Pick & Go, a Just Walk Out technology-enabled convenience store in Holborn Circus, London. The store marked the first time Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology launched in a third-party customer store internationally. It was also the first time Amazon retrofitted a third-party retail store with Just Walk Out technology, meaning the store uses Sainsbury’s existing fixtures and fittings with Amazon’s technology.
  •   For the second year in a row, the Retailer Preference Index—a report from research firm dunnhumby based on insights from 10,000 shoppers on 57 grocers in the U.S.—ranked Amazon as the best overall grocery retailer. Amazon was recognized for offering customers consistently low prices, convenience, and great selection on a wide variety of grocery items sold on Amazon.com.
  •   Amazon partnered with Affirm to offer customers even more ways to pay on Amazon. Customers in the U.S. now have the flexibility to split the total cost of eligible purchases of $50 or more into monthly payments at checkout with no late or hidden fees.
  •   Amazon announced that later this year, more than 80 million Venmo users in the U.S. will have the option to pay with PayPal-owned Venmo in Amazon’s online stores using their linked bank account or Venmo balance.
  •   Amazon continues to invest in offering Prime members around the world same-day delivery options, including Free Same-Day Delivery, where Prime members can receive their order the same day they ordered it, and Faster Same-Day Delivery, where Prime members can receive their order in as fast as five hours. Free Same-Day Delivery is now available in more than 90 metro areas in the U.S. with the addition of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Provo, Utah; in 58 metro areas in Europe; and in Tokyo, Japan. Faster Same-Day Delivery is now available in 24 metro areas in the U.S., with new launches in the past quarter in Austin, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Diego.
  •   Amazon published its largest ever Holiday Fashion print lookbook, which was sent to millions of Prime members offering more than 1,000 items to choose from for their holiday shopping. Prime members in the U.S. who received the lookbook were able to browse a curated selection of fashion gifts and use their phone to shop items by scanning a QR code.

In a company blog, Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO showed his appreciation to employees across Amazon who overcame another quarter of COVID-related challenges. “As expected over the holidays, we saw higher costs driven by labor supply shortages and inflationary pressures, and these issues persisted into the first quarter due to Omicron. Despite these short-term challenges, we continue to feel optimistic and excited about the business as we emerge from the pandemic. When you combine how we’re staffing and scaling our fulfillment network to bring even faster delivery to more customers, the extraordinary growth of AWS with 40% year-over-year growth (and now a $71 billion revenue run rate), the addition of marquee new entertainment like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Thursday Night Football, and a plethora of new capabilities that we’re building in areas like Alexa, Ring, Grocery, Pharmacy, Amazon Care, Kuiper, and Zoox, there’s a lot to look forward to in the months and years ahead.”