AWS hits $54 billion annual run rate

At 15 years old, Amazon's cloud business is still growing quickly, helping the e-commerce giant top Q1 expectations.

Amazon Web Services has hit a $54 billion annual sales run rate, Amazon said Thursday in its first quarter financial results. The cloud business grew 32 percent year-over-year, helping Amazon beat Q1 expectations. 

Overall, Amazon's net income increased to $8.1 billion in the first quarter, or $15.79 per diluted share, compared with net income of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 per diluted share, in first quarter 2020. Net sales increased 44 percent to $108.5 billion in the first quarter. 

Analysts were expecting earnings of $9.54 on revenue of $104.46 billion. 

"Two of our kids are now 10 and 15 years old—and after years of being nurtured, they're growing up fast and coming into their own," CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year... In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales run rate business competing against the world's largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating—up 32% year over year. Companies from Airbnb to McDonald's to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf."

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Breaking down sales by segment, AWS brought in $13.5 billion in net sales in Q1. Its 32 percent growth rate is better than Q4's 28 percent growth rate and in line with the 33 percent growth rate posted in Q1 2020.

After a wild year of pandemic-driven sales, Amazon's North America segment brought in net sales of $64.37 billion, growing at 40 percent year-over-year. International net sales accounted for $30.65 billion, growing at a whopping 60 percent. 

AWS once again accounted for a significant portion of operating income, bringing in $4.16 billion in Q1. By comparison, Q1 North America operating income was $3.45 billion, while the International segment brought in $1.25 billion. 

Advertising services is the primary driver of sales in Amazon's "Other" category, which is not an official business segment. Amazon said the category grew 77 percent in the first quarter to bring in $6.91 billion in net sales.

For the second quarter, Amazon expects net sales between $110 billion and $116 billion. It expects operating income to come in between $4.5 billion and $8 billion.