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Amazon is doing well in North America but still struggles overseas

Amazon is doing well in North America but still struggles overseas


And it says next quarter it could be hurt by foreign exchange rates

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Today, Amazon reported earnings for the third quarter of 2018, showing that its North American business remains solid, boosted by Echo device sales and cloud services. At the same time, it’s still minimizing its losses in international markets.

In North America, Amazon pulled in $34.3 billion, which is a 35 percent improvement from last year. Amazon Web Services continued to bolster numbers, rising 46 percent in sales. International sales trail behind and Amazon is still losing money in the category. Its losses this quarter however were only $385 million, compared to $936 million year over year.

That’s the narrative we’re seeing as Amazon trucks along past the $1 trillion valuation number. Although the company doesn’t provide a breakdown of sales for particular devices, we do know that during this past quarter, Amazon Prime Day was a large driver of sales, even if the site momentarily broke down. The company didn’t give sales specifics but did say customers purchased over 100 million products, approaching the size of last year’s Cyber Monday event, where customers bought over 140 million products.

Not everything is rosy in CEO Jeff Bezos’ world though

The one category that Amazon is still fumbling with is international sales, as it slowly develops its smart assistant Alexa to learn more languages and expands its Echo offerings into additional countries. Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky noted that because the Hindu holiday Diwali falls on November this year, the company’s sales associated with that holiday in India weren’t included in this quarter’s numbers, while last year, the holiday fell earlier in the year. “Story’s different country by country obviously, some are more ahead than others,” he said, “But we’re still very pleased with the international business and we’re still seeing good pickup.”

Overall, net income for the company increased more than 10 times year over year to $2.8 billion, a huge jump due to AWS sales, advertising, and services offered to third-party sellers. Revenue is up 29 percent year over year.

Not everything is rosy in CEO Jeff Bezos’ world though. Amazon expects to bring in about $66.5 billion to $72.5 billion during the holiday season, which is below analyst expectations by over $1 billion. The company says it anticipates the “unfavorable impact” of foreign exchange rates to be the main cause.

Update October 25th, 6PM ET: This article has been updated with comments from Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky.