Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) finished out 2019 on a strong note. Sales in the company's recently reported fourth quarter handily beat analysts' estimates, and earnings per share crushed expectations, sending the stock soaring to all-time highs and pushing Amazon's market cap to more than a trillion dollars.
As investors look back on the e-commerce and cloud computing giant's record year, here are some of the most notable highlights.
Amazon's total sales in 2019 were $280.5 billion, up 20% from sales of $232.9 billion in 2018. But even this growth rate understates the company's strong top-line momentum, as sales were up 22% year over year when excluding unfavorable impacts from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates during 2019.
Long gone are the years when Amazon struggled to report regular profits. The company's net income during 2019 rose to a record $11.6 billion. This translated to earnings per share of $23.01 -- up from $20.14 in 2018.
Amazon's profitability also shows up on its cash flow statement. Free cash flow, or cash from operations less capital expenditures, rose 33% year over year to $25.8 billion.
Revenue from the company's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), continues to grow at a much faster rate than the company's consolidated business. AWS revenue in 2019 rose 37% year over year to $35 billion.
This put AWS revenue at 12.5% of total 2019 revenue, up from 11% of revenue in 2018.
AWS operating income continues to be key to the company's consolidated profitability, despite representing only 12.5% of revenue. Total AWS operating income in 2019 was $9.2 billion. This compares to Amazon's total operating income of $14.5 billion. In other words, AWS represented 63% of Amazon's total operating income in 2019.
Amazon finished the year with a trailing-12-month operating margin of 5.2% -- about in line with its operating margin of 5.3% in 2018.
While Amazon's operating margin of just over 5% may not seem impressive at first glance, consider that retailer juggernaut Walmart has nearly double the sales of Amazon yet has an operating margin of 4.1%. Amazon's superior operating margin despite its more aggressive investments in future growth opportunities is a testament to the company's stronger business model.
Looking to 2020, management seems confident in the company's continued growth prospects. Amazon guided for first-quarter revenue as high as $73 billion -- up 22% from revenue of $59.7 billion in the first quarter of 2019. Specifically, management said it expects revenue during its first quarter of 2020 to be between $69 billion and $73 billion. Actual revenue, however, typically comes in toward the high end (or even above) management's guidance range.