October 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

Recession-resistant Amazon reports a 28% jump in third quarter sales

North American sales were up 23% from the third quarter of 2008. The leading online retailer predicts continued growth during the holiday season, projecting sales growth of between 21% and 36% in Q4.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Amazon.com Inc. reported today a 28% increase in year-over-year sales in the third quarter, continuing to show no signs that the economic downturn has dampened its growth.

What’s more, Amazon executives are confident they will post solid growth during the upcoming holiday season, projecting sales growth of between 21% and 36% in Q4.

For the third quarter, Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Net sales of $5.45 billion, up 28% from $4.26 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
  • North American net sales of $2.84 billion, up 23.5% from $2.30 billion a year ago.
  • Net income of $199 million, up 68% from $118 million in Q3 2008.
  • Sales of media products-primarily books, music and movies-increased 17% to $2.93 billion from $2.49 billion. In North America, media sales were up 13% to $1.41 billion from $1.25 billion.
  • Sales of other goods-which Amazon categorizes as electronics and other general merchandise-were up 44% globally to $2.36 billion from $1.64 billion. In North America, the growth was 36% to $1.29 billion from $950 million.

While Amazon does not break out sales of its Kindle electronic book readers, CEO Jeff Bezos highlighted the popularity of the Kindle in reporting the e-retailer’s Q3 financial results. “Kindle has become the No. 1 best-selling item by both unit sales and dollars-not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com. It’s also the most wished for and the most gifted,” Bezos said.

For the first nine months of 2009, Amazon reported:

  • Net global sales of $14.99 billion, a 20% increase from $12.46 billion in the same period last year.
  • North American net sales of $7.87 billion, up 19% from $6.60 billion.
  • Net income of $518 million, up 23% from $420 million.
  • Worldwide media sales of $8.09 billion, up 9% from $7.44 billion. In North America, media sales were ahead 7% to $3.87 billion from $3.60 billion.
  • Global sales of electronic and other merchandise grew 39% to $6.47 billion from $4.65 billion. In North America, sales in this category were ahead 35% to $3.65 billion from $2.70 billion.

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