With a boost from consumer electronics, net sales at Amazon.com Inc. rose 24% to $1.9 billion for the first quarter ended March 31. Net income fell 30% to $78 million due to a sharp rise in income tax expense.
Amazon said sales of electronics and other general merchandise surpassed $1.8 billion, accounting for 25% of total sales. It attributed part of the growth to the Amazon Prime shipping program introduced in February, which for an annual fee of $79 provides customers with free and unlimited 2-day shipping for more than 1 million eligible items sold on Amazon.com. The program also lets subscribers order as late as 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time for next-day delivery for a discounted fee of $3.99 per item.
"We`re seeing especially heavy use of Amazon Prime in Electronics, Tools, Kitchen, and Health & Personal Care," said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon also said that Q1 North American sales, comprised of its U.S. and Canadian web sites, rose 21% year-over-year to $1.03 billion. It said international segment sales, comprised of its U.K., German, French, Japanese and Chinese sites, rose 28% to $875 million. It said international segment sales accounted for 45% of worldwide net sales for the 12 months ended March 31, up from 40% for the prior 12-month period.