Discover the top Amazon news stories in January 2020 that caught our eye.

January 25-31

Amazon: Christmas sales soar as other retailers struggle: BBC News reports that Amazon sales soared over the Christmas season, rising 21% from the previous year, in sharp contrast to weakness reported by other retailers. The ecommerce giant said it earned $87bn (£66bn) in sales in the last three months of 2019, well ahead of analyst expectations. The news sent the firm’s share price up more than 10% in after-hours trade. If prices hold it would return Amazon’s market valuation to above $1tn, joining Microsoft, Apple and Google. Continue reading…

Check out the Amazon Q4 Earnings Release

Growing like crazy: Amazon now has a whopping 798,000 employees, up 23% from last year: Taylor Soper at Geekwire reports that Amazon’s appetite for hiring employees is showing no signs of slowing down. As part of its holiday quarter earnings report, the Seattle tech giant revealed it now has 798,000 workers across the globe. That’s up 23 per cent from the year-ago quarter. It’s also higher than the 14 per cent headcount growth rate from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. Amazon added 48,000 employees over the last three months alone. Continue reading…

Amazon Employees

Image credit: Geekwire

Hundreds of Amazon employees publicly attack its climate record: The Financial Times reports that more than 350 Amazon employees have publicly criticised the company’s climate change record, defying policies that say doing so could cost them their jobs, in a coordinated action that mirrors similar internal battles emerging across several of the big technology groups. In a post titled “Amazon Employees Share Our Views on Company Business”, published on the blogging platform Medium, named staffers called on the company to drop its cloud-computing contracts with clients in the oil and gas industry, which according to Amazon’s website include BP, Shell and GE Oil & Gas. Continue reading…

MacKenzie Bezos sells $400 million of her Amazon shares: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that MacKenzie Bezos has reduced her stake in Amazon by about $400 million, according to a recent SEC filing. The drop in Bezos’ stake was reported in the Friday filing, under her ex-husband and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ name. Jeff Bezos retains sole voting control of MacKenzie Bezos’ stake, which now stands at 19.5 million shares, or about 200,000 fewer shares than the 19.7 million she received as part of their divorce. Bezos became one of the world’s wealthiest women following her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world. She received a 4% stake in Amazon, which handed her a $37 billion fortune. Continue reading…

Amazon’s stock may jump following quarterly results despite rising costs: Michael Kramer at Forbes reports that Amazon will report its fourth-quarter results on January 30 after the close of trading.  It has been a year of rising costs for the company as it ramped up spending on its social and digital marketing. The rising costs have been one of the contributing reasons why the company has missed analysts’ earnings estimates the last two quarters in a row. Despite the rising costs, some options traders are betting that Amazon’s stock jumps following its quarterly results. Meanwhile, the technical charts are also pointing to higher prices for the shares too. Continue reading…

January 18-24

How Jeff Bezos’ iPhone X was hacked: Sheera Frenkel at The New York Times reports that on the afternoon of May 1, 2018, Jeff Bezos received a message on WhatsApp from an account belonging to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The two men had previously communicated using the messaging platform, but Mr Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, had not expected a message that day — let alone one with a video of Saudi and Swedish flags with Arabic text. The video, a file of more than 4.4 megabytes, was more than it appeared, according to forensic analysis that Mr Bezos commissioned and paid for to discover who had hacked his iPhone X. Hidden in that file was a separate bit of code that most likely implanted malware. Continue reading…

Amazon battles Microsoft over military cloud: BBC News reports that Amazon has asked a court to “pause” Microsoft’s work on a multibillion-dollar deal to provide cloud services to the US military. Microsoft was awarded the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (Jedi) contract in October. A month later, Amazon filed a notice in the US Court of Federal Claims, claiming the process had contained deficiencies and “unmistakable bias”. It accused President Trump of political interference. Amazon had been the favourite to win the vast contract, which is worth $10bn (£7.6bn) over the next 10 years. It now wants the deal put on hold until the court rules on its protest. Continue reading…

Chinese sellers outnumber US sellers on Amazon.com: Joe at Marketplace Pulse reports that the number of top Amazon sellers based in China has surpassed US sellers. 49% of the top Amazon.com sellers are based in China, and only 47% are US-based, according to Marketplace Pulse analysis of the top sellers whose business addresses can be reliably determined. In a year, China-based sellers have grown their share of top Amazon.com sellers from 38% to 49%. Top 10,000 sellers on Amazon.com were considered because each seller in the group has yearly sales exceeding $1 million. Continue reading…

World's top Amazon sellers

Image credit: Marketplace Pulse

Amazon quietly files for pharmacy trademark in the UK: Alys Key at iNews reports that Amazon appears to be plotting a move into the UK’s pharmacy sector, after filing to trademark the name Amazon Pharmacy. In documents submitted to Britain’s Intellectual Property Office, the technology company has applied to use the name for a number of products and services, including pharmaceuticals, scientific research and medical services. Similar applications were made in both Canada and Australia on the same date, according to CNBC. Continue reading…

Amazon Music passes 55 million customers as it chips away at Spotify and Apple Music: Chris Welch at The Verge reports that Amazon has said Amazon Music, its music service has now surpassed 55 million customers. There’s still a long way to go if Amazon wants to catch Spotify, which most recently reported 113 million paying customers (and 248 million monthly users overall) back in September. Apple last cited an Apple Music subscriber count of over 60 million, so Amazon is quickly chipping away at that lead. Continue reading…

January 11-17

Amazon in India: Jeff Bezos announces $1bn Indian investment: BBC News reports that Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has announced a major investment in India, saying the country is a key growth market. Mr Bezos said his firm will invest $1bn (£770m) in digitising small and medium businesses – allowing them to sell and operate online. Speaking at a company event in New Delhi, he also said the 21st Century is “going to be the Indian century”. Continue reading…

Amazon sellers are no longer barred from shipping Prime orders with FedEx Ground: Clare Duffy at CNN Business reports that Amazon has lifted a ban that temporarily kept some third-party sellers on the site from shipping orders using FedEx. As of Tuesday afternoon, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home are again available as shipping options for Amazon Prime orders from third-party sellers, according to an email Amazon sent to sellers. Continue reading…

Amazon opens Netherlands marketplace to sellers: Alex Sword at Internet Retailing reports that Amazon has opened its Netherlands marketplace for sellers to register, as well as announcing plans to expand it later this year. Sellers are invited to register on the amazon.nl portal for a fee of €39 per month. They will be able to use Amazon’s Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) delivery and logistics options. There are currently restrictions on the types of products sellers can sell on the platform. In particular, only new products are currently allowed and some products require approval from Amazon itself. Continue reading…

Amazon opens new corporate office in Manchester creating 600 jobs: Ian Lynn at the Lancashire Post reports that Amazon has opened a new office in Manchester, creating more than 600 jobs in the city. The tech giant opened the doors to its new corporate office in the Northern Quarter’s Hanover Building on Thursday as it grows its presence in the North West. The new site, which was first announced in October 2018, will add to corporate offices in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh. Continue reading…

‘Amazon’ fraudsters are stealing thousands from unsuspecting victims: Sky News reports that Britons are being urged to be on their guard after a fraudster claiming to be from Amazon swindled two people out of £15,000. The telephone scam sees victims receive an unsolicited call with a pre-recorded message, where they are invited to connect to an operator to talk about their Prime membership. After a long conversation, they are then asked to reconnect to the phone call through their computer and download software called Team Viewer, which allows them to share their desktop. Continue reading…

January 1-10

Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime incentive – 100% off referral fees: Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that Amazon is running a Seller Fulfilled Prime incentive which offers 100% off referral fees on the first 500 units you sell under the program. This is an ideal opportunity to self fulfil your most expensive products on Amazon whilst still gaining Prime eligible status (after completing the Seller Fulfilled Prime trial period) and thus a great chance of your offer being featured in the Buy Box. Continue reading…

Amazon stopped featuring its own brands in search results: Joe at Marketplace Pulse reports that Amazon has quietly stopped featuring its private label brands it previously showed in a “Top Rated From Our Brands” widget in search results. Recently, the widget is no longer present in search results, according to a sample of searches tracked by Marketplace Pulse. For instance, a search for “hdmi adapter” used to show a full banner of the company’s own brand AmazonBasics’ products under the “Top Rated from Our Brands” widget at the top of search results. Now, AmazonBasics still appear as organic search results but are no longer featured. Continue reading…

This employee’s suggestion to Jeff Bezos doubled Amazon’s productivity in its first month: Taylor Locke at reports CNBC that during the first month of launching Amazon, Bezos and his employees would pack orders on their hands and knees on cement floors, when one of his 10 employees had an idea that ultimately “doubled” their productivity. “I didn’t have packing tables”. I said to one of the software engineers who was packing alongside me, “You know what we should do? We should get knee pads.” And he looked at me like I was the dumbest guy he had ever seen in his life, and he said “Jeff, we should get packing tables.” Continue reading…

The emerging challenges for ecommerce startups in 2020: Ankush Mahajan at Entrepreneur reports that the ecommerce industry is a fast-growing sector with demand going through the roof and more people adopting this stress-free method of shopping. In 2015, the ecommerce retail sales amounted to over $340 billion and by 2019 the total sales are projected to be double that amount. This means more people are getting to know about this industry and so much more are also striving to carve a niche for themselves by opening up online retail stores. Continue reading…

Amazon’s latest health hire is a high-profile public health expert and ‘lung doc’: Christina Farr at CNBC reports that Amazon is hiring a high-profile public health expert and clinician to help it strategise how to deliver better care for its workers, a person familiar with the company’s thinking told CNBC. The company plans to add Vin Gupta as a principal scientist to its growing Amazon Care team later this month. Continue reading…

Bonus: 6 Emerging Ecommerce Trends for 2020

Quote of the month:
“Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.”

Tim Ferriss

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