Jeff Bezos, writing in his 2001 letter to Amazon shareholders:
Ouch. It’s been a brutal year for many in the capital markets and certainly for Amazon.com shareholders. As of this writing, our shares are down more than 80% from when I wrote you last year. Nevertheless, by almost any measure, Amazon.com the company is in a stronger position now than at any time in its past.
– We served 20 million customers in 2000, up from 14 million in 1999.
– Sales grew to $2.76 billion in 2000 from $1.64 billion in 1999.
– Pro forma operating loss shrank to 6% of sales in Q4 2000, from 26% of sales in Q4 1999.
– Pro forma operating loss in the U.S. shrank to 2% of sales in Q4 2000, from 24% of sales in Q4 1999.
– Average spend per customer in 2000 was $134, up 19%.
– Gross profit grew to $656 million in 2000, from $291 million in 1999, up 125%.
– Almost 36% of Q4 2000 U.S. customers purchased from one of our “non-BMV” stores such as electronics, tools, and kitchen.
– International sales grew to $381 million in 2000, from $168 million in 1999.
– We helped our partner Toysrus.com sell more than $125 million of toys and video games in Q4 2000.
– We ended 2000 with cash and marketable securities of $1.1 billion, up from $706 million at the end of 1999, thanks to our early 2000 euroconvert financing.
– And, most importantly, our heads-down focus on the customer was reflected in a score of 84 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index. We are told this is the highest score ever recorded for a service company in any industry.
So, if the company is better positioned today than it was a year ago, why is the stock price so much lower than it was a year ago? As the famed investor Benjamin Graham said, “In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long term, it’s a weighing machine.” Clearly there was a lot of voting going on in the boom year of ’99 – and much less weighing. We’re a company that wants to be weighed, and over time, we will be — over the long term, all companies are. In the meantime, we have our heads down working to build a heavier and heavier company.
Amazon market cap today, March 22, 2022: USD $1.64 trillion.