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Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

With the pandemic driving consumers to shop online, Amazon beat analyst expectations on Thursday with its Q3 results, though its stock price didn't see much of a bump.

Why it matters: Despite incurring what it estimates was about $2.5 billion in pandemic-related costs during the quarter, Amazon's revenue grew 37% year-over-year to $96.1 billion and its profits to $6.3 billion, up 197% year-over-year.

By the numbers:

  • Earnings per share: $12.37, compared to $7.41 expected, per Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $96.1 billion, compared to $92.7 billion expected, per Refinitiv.
  • Amazon Web Services: $11.6 billion in revenue, up from $9 billion a year ago.

Between the lines: Though an initial surge in consumer activity in the spring was due to customers stocking up on certain items, Amazon is still seeing heavy usage and Prime membership renewals, the company told analysts during a call about its earnings.

  • It also expects to lose some online shopping to brick-and-mortar stores once more of them re-open.

Executives described the performance of Amazon Web Services as a "mixed bag."

  • Long term growth will continue as businesses seek to cut overall costs by moving to the cloud.
  • However, in the short term, AWS's customers are also tightening their spending, and cloud computing is one area in which they can do so.

Amazon is also seeing more customers try out its digital services like Prime Video, which also correlates to more Amazon online shopping.

As far as the billions it's spending during the pandemic, the company says the costs come in areas like onboarding new hires, social distancing, extended breaks, cleaning, supplies, and testing. It doesn't expect these to recur once the pandemic has ended.

  • Pandemic-related costs are expected to rise to $4 billion next quarter, the company said.
  • At the same time, Amazon told analysts it saved about $1 billion on company travel this year, as well as on dramatically decreased marketing for a portion of the year.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Chevron posts another quarterly loss under weight of pandemic

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Chevron posted another quarterly loss Friday in the latest sign of how the pandemic is still weighing on oil companies despite some price recovery during the second half of the year.

Driving the news: The oil giant reported a $665 million loss for the October-December period, but it shrinks to $11 million on an adjusted basis after considering charges on its acquisition of Noble Energy and "foreign currency effects."

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 6 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.