Shares of Google parent Alphabet (GOOG 1.17%) (GOOGL 1.16%) soared on Wednesday, lifted by a fantastic earnings report. Vote-enabled Class A shares under the GOOGL ticker rose as much as 6.1% in the morning session while the voteless Class C shares known as GOOG gained 6.3% at most.
Alphabet's first-quarter revenue rose 34% year over year to $55.3 billion. Your average analyst would have settled for $51.7 billion. Earnings increased by 166% to $26.29 per diluted share. Here, the Street had expected earnings closer to $15.88 per share.
The company also boosted its share buyback program by $50 billion, having spent $34.1 billion on buybacks over the last four quarters and $11.4 billion in the first quarter alone.
The company experienced strong growth in every business segment and geographical region, led by a 44% sales surge in the Asia-Pacific region and a 46% increase in Google Cloud revenue. Alphabet has never provided firm financial guidance targets but chief business officer Philipp Schindler offered a high-level overview of the part Google's search service plays in the pandemic economy:
Over the last six months, people's shopping preferences have shifted constantly in response to changing conditions. It's not just online, it's not just offline, it's a mix. And that's our sweet spot with Search, Maps, and YouTube. Last quarter, we talked about a surge in searches for available near me and curbside pickup. That trend has not changed. Searches for local and businesses are up 80% versus last year. Omnichannel is here to stay.