Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has a penchant for disrupting industries. For instance, it changed the way people bought and read books and is now working on futuristic delivery mechanisms such as self-driving trucks and drones.
Amazon's strategy of pouring money aggressively into new ideas has worked wonders so far, helping the stock soar a whopping 63,000% since going public 20 years ago as its top-line growth has taken off remarkably.
But investors who have missed Amazon's gravy train so far shouldn't worry, as these three catalysts can help sustain the terrific growth.
Amazon's cloud business came into being by accident, as the company initially wanted to build a service to help third-party retailers build their websites based on Amazon's e-commerce infrastructure. This idea gradually led to the formation of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure business in 2006, giving it a tremendous lead in the market over rivals such as Microsoft, IBM, and Alphabet.
AWS has rapidly grown into a major moneymaker for the company. The division's revenue jumped 42% year over year to $3.66 billion during the recently reported first quarter, thanks to the adoption of its platform by the likes of Snap, Dunkin' Brands, and many others. That was about 10% of total net sales.
More importantly, Amazon's early move into cloud infrastructure services has reaped big dividends for the company, as AWS currently leads this space. Market analyst firm Canalys puts AWS's market share at 31% in cloud infrastructure services, with Microsoft's Azure cloud running a distant second. In fact, AWS's market share exceeds the combined strength of its three closest rivals, according to this data.
What's more, the e-commerce giant is aggressively undertaking steps to defend its lead in this space by adding new features to its cloud services. For instance, Amazon has now entered the software-as-a-service space with the launch of the Amazon Chime service in February. This move should help it compete more effectively against Microsoft's Skype tools that enable cloud-based communication.
Research and advisory firm Forrester expects public cloud revenue to hit a massive $236 billion in 2020, so Amazon can make a lot more money in this space if it can successfully defend its market share.
Amazon has started taking baby steps in the multibillion-dollar offline grocery market. The company started testing the AmazonFresh concept in Seattle earlier this year, enabling customers to order items online then drive to an Amazon location for pick-up at a scheduled time, which can be as quick as 15 minutes after ordering.
The company is now testing this concept in Milwaukee as well, charging Amazon Prime members an additional $14.99 per month for the Fresh service. The e-commerce giant is making a smart move by trying to sell groceries in this manner. Customers can save a lot of time by pre-ordering items at home and paying online, while receiving fresh groceries at the appointed time.
Amazon's Prime Video streaming service has reportedly racked up an impressive number of users within a short time, challenging established streaming companies such as Netflix and Hulu. Amazon was estimated in 2016 to have 76 million Prime Video subscribers, which significantly exceeds Netflix's 47 million U.S. subscribers.
The video subscriber growth is a result of the company's strategy of bundling the service with the $99 annual fee for the Prime subscription, which also includes early access to deals and priority shipping. The company also offers Prime Video as a stand-alone service for a monthly fee of $8.99, making it cheaper than Netflix's $9.99 plan while also enhancing its appeal among customers who don't want the entire Prime package. Video has also helped push up advertising dollars.
Amazon could bring more subscribers into its fold thanks to its latest move of offering live television through Prime Video, allowing customers to choose and pay for specific channels. A Morgan Stanley research note has said Amazon's advertising business could grow to $5 billion in 2018.
Amazon is not going to run out of steam anytime soon as it pursues multibillion-dollar revenue opportunities in these fast-growing industries. Investor shouldn't doubt the company's ability to deliver more upside after fantastic gains over the past two decades.