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Supply Chain News: Amazon and UPS see Booming Q4 Results with ecommerce Spike


Amazon Revenue Soars Past $100 Billion in Q4, while UPS Sees 21% Revenue Growth

Feb. 3, 2021
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Both Amazon and UPS announced this week strong top line revenue growth in Q4 on soaring ecommerce volumes, though Amazon had the better quarter in terms of profit growth.

Amazon saw its quarterly revenue zoom past $100 billion in a quarter for the first time ever in Q4, the company reported Tuesday, with sales of 125.56 billion versus $87.44 billion in 2019, or a rise of 43%

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UPS said its parcel volumes from small- and medium sized shippers from rose more than 28% for in Q4, compared with 4% for the largest shippers in its portfolio.

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Only Apple has also seen a $100+ billion quarter, and that was also in Q4, as reported last week.

That took Amazon's full year revenue to $386 billion, up 37.6% versus 2019, as it continues to  close in on Walmart, the largest company in the world by revenues.

On-line sales were up 46% in the quarter, to $66.4 billion, while commissions from its 3rd party marketplace services were up a whopping 57%.

Net income for the quarter was $7.2 billion, about double earnings of $3.3 billion in Q4 2019. Fully year profits were $21.3 billion, up 83% from $11.6 billion last year, as Amazon is finally starting to make real money. And that strong bottom line comes after factoring in billions of dollars related to COVID-19 programs, such as in-house testing facilities in its fulfillment centers.

Free cash flow increased to $31.0 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $25.8 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2019.

Still its AWS web services unit accounted for 52% of total operating income in Q4, though that was down from its share in Q4 2019.

Meanwhile, UPS also posted a blowout Q4 in terms of revenue.

"Brown" reported a 21% increase Q4 sales compared to 2019, with revenues rising to $24.9 billion, the highest quarterly number ever for the company. Operating profit rose 26%, a number which can in part be attributed to new surcharge fees and policies designed to not overwhelm its ability to deliver during the just ended peak season.

"We reduced what we referred to as chaos costs," said UPS CEO Carol Tomé said on Tuesday's earnings call.

UPS also said that in 2020 it received $11.3 billion for shipping services for Amazon, accounting for 13.3% of all its revenue for the year. That number is up from 11.6% in 2019.

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With UPS reporting total 2020 revenue of $84.63 billion, that would mean Amazon accounted for $11.26 billion in 2020 revenue, up from $8.59 billion a year ago.


UPS said its parcel volumes from small- and medium sized shippers from rose more than 28% for in Q4, compared with 4% for the largest shippers in its portfolio. Smaller parcel shippers get much lower if any discounts off published UPS rates than larger firms do.

That combined with additional surcharges noted above, led to UPS's revenue per parcel to rise 7.8% in the quarter, the highest increase in more than a decade.

UPS' adjusted operating margin grew only slightly during the quarter to 11.5%, though the margin for its domestic parcel unit fell slightly to 8.8%.

Any reaction to to the Q4 results for Amazon and UPS? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.







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