As online shopping slows down, Amazon Posts 1st Loss In 7 Years


Amazon reported its first loss in a quarter since 2015. A slowdown in online shopping and a write-off of its investment in an electric vehicle startup have stalled the money-making behemoth.

Amazon reported a quarterly loss

Amazon reported a first-quarter loss of $3.84 billion, or $7.56 a share. A year ago, the company had reported a profit of $8.1 billion, or $15.79 a share, for the first quarter. According to FactSet, Wall Street analysts expected a profit of $8.35 per share for the latest quarter.

The slowdown in online spending is very real. While in-store sales have risen, March is the first month that shows a decline in online sales since the pandemic began, as per the Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks the spendings done over the Mastercard payments network and survey estimates for other payments made with cash and checks.

Amazon thrived during the pandemic

Amazon thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic. People were stuck at home and had to limit human contact, so they turned online to purchase what they needed. But this unprecedented growth has now slowed down as vaccinated Americans feel more comfortable going out. According to MarketPlace Pulse, the value of goods sold on Amazon last year grew half as fast as it did in 2020.

Amazon Prime’s membership fee has been hiked

Like many other companies, Amazon is under a lot of pressure due to inflation, supply-chain issues and labor shortages. Last quarter, Amazon increased the annual Prime membership fee by $20. The membership fees was increased for the first time since 2018.

Revenue increased by 7% to $116.44 billion, as compared with $108.52 billion in first quarter 2021, representing the company’s sixth consecutive quarter of revenue over $100 billion. Amazon had projected sales between $112 billion and $117 billion while the analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting $116.5 billion.

Amazon expects sales for the current quarter to between $116 billion and $121 billion. Amazon’s expectation is lower than the average expectation among industry analysts of $125.33 billion, as per FactSet

Employee unionization

A unionization push by the company’s workforce has led to these results. A second union election is currently ongoing at a company warehouse on Staten Island, New York, the same borough where workers at a nearby facility voted to unionize earlier this month. Amazon has filed an objection to the election with the National Labor Relations Board and is trying to re-do it.

Despite 416 challenged ballots, the outcome of a separate union election in Bessemer, Alabama, is still uncertain. The hearings to review the ballots are expected to begin in the coming weeks.