Analyst's may now be underestimating Amazon's revenue growth.
Current estimates are that Amazon will grow by 16% (year over year)
during Q4 2004, versus 25% growth for the overall U.S. ecommerce market.
Faster third party sales growth may appear as slower revenue growth.
Amazon books only its commission when customers purchase goods from
third party vendors such as Target via Amazon's web site. Since those
commissions tend to be less than 10% of the purchases value, third
party sales result in slower revenue growth than purchases from
Amazon's own inventory. But they are actually more profitable for
New businesses getting traction. Amazon recently announced
that sales of consumer electronics overtook sales of books, music and
video. And Amazon's A9 search engine seems to be profitable, even
including the discounts given to A9 users on Amazon products.
Stock not that expensive. Amazon is trading at about 41
times estimated 2005 earnings. Most analysts are bearish on the stock:
15 of the 22 who cover the stock have a Hold or Sell rating on it. But
given Amazon's cash-flow generative business model and growth, it's not
Quick thought: Amazon's profitability would rise
significantly if it could leverage its brand name and the traffic to
its web site by further "virtualizing" its business. The best immediate
move? Purchase one of the comparison shopping engines. And its business
will likely become more virtual when music and video are delivered
electronically, though clearly there will be new competitive challenges.