Amazon Crushes Quarterly Earnings Estimates, Raises the Price of Prime

Shares of Amazon approached an all-time high on Thursday after-hours after the e-commerce giant blew past earnings and revenue expectations for the first quarter. Significantly, Amazon also announced it was raising the annual price for its popular Prime membership from $99 to $119.

Earnings per share of $3.27 beat a $1.24 consensus, while revenue of $51.04 billion beat a $49.92 billion consensus. Shares of Amazon spiked more than 7% after hours to around $1,609. Amazon's market cap now stands at approximately $780 billion, about 9% shy of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) $833 billion market cap.

On the company's earnings call with investors, CFO Brian Olsavsky announced Amazon was increasing the annual price of its Prime membership in the U.S. by 20% to $119. "Effective May 11, we're going to increase the price of our U.S. annual plan from $99 to $119 for new members," Olsavsky said. Jeff Bezos recently announced in Amazon's annual shareholder letter that Prime membership had surpassed 100 million paid members globally, the first time Amazon had released subscriber numbers for Prime.

Second quarter revenue guidance was $51 billion to $54 billion (+34%-42% year-over-year), slightly above a $52.2 billion consensus at the midpoint.

North American segment revenue (boosted a bit by Whole Foods) rose 46% year-over-year to $30.73 billion, topping a $30.05 billion consensus, while international segment revenue rose 34% year-over-year to $14.88 billion, beating a $14.61 billion consensus. Excluding currency swings, growth was 21%.

AWS revenue growth accelerated to 49% from Q4's 45% growth rate, with revenue at $5.44 billion, above a $5.26 billion consensus. AWS also saw its operating income rise to $1.4 billion from $890 million a year ago.

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