Inc.’s latest quarterly results are another reminder of the astronomical costs associated with growing the technology giant’s business. 

Worldwide shipping costs rose to US$12.8 billion in the fourth quarter. For the year overall, Amazon’s total spending on shipping reached a whopping US$37.95 billion. 

Amazon’s obsession with speedy package deliveries is no secret. Wall Street analysts have come to expect the big spending bill, which fuels the company’s one-day shipping ambitions.

While the costs have routinely raised concerns surrounding Amazon’s profit potential, the company’s top-line results benefited greatly from a surge in holiday shipments. 

Amazon’s quarterly revenue topped US$100 billion for the first time in company history. All told, Amazon generated US$280.5 billion in revenue in 2019, up from US$232.9 billion a year earlier. If you break down that performance, it’s the equivalent of generating US$32 million in revenue every hour.

Beyond its retail dominance, Amazon continues to benefit from strong market share in cloud computing through its Amazon Web Services unit.  Call it Amazon’s highly effective one-two revenue punch. 

The fourth-quarter results wrap up a dominant decade for Amazon, during which it generated more than US$1 trillion in revenue.

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