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Can Amazon Survive the Onslaught of Countless Competitors?

By Brian Withers and Brian Stoffel - Updated Jun 25, 2021 at 1:40PM

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History may provide some clues.

Amazon (AMZN -1.85%) has become a force to be reckoned with. It is continuing to put up impressive growth numbers despite its massive size. No one company could take the e-commerce giant down, but could it lose momentum as numerous competitors pick off niche markets while Amazon is distracted on the bigger picture? On a Fool Live episode recorded on May 26, Fool contributors Brian Stoffel and Brian Withers discuss the company's impressive quarter and whether the everything store can defend against multiple e-commerce upstarts all at once.

Brian Withers: The next stock up is Amazon, AMZN. Amazon released earnings beginning of May, and it just continues to execute at a high level on all three of its business segments. The North American region is its largest business segment at 61 percent of the overall revenue. It was up 40%. Operating income, [up] 163%. The operating income growing faster than revenue means the business is scaling and becoming more profitable.

Same thing happened in international, which is about 28% of the overall business, positive operating income with sales up 50% currency-neutral. AWS is only 11% of the business overall from a revenue [standpoint], but the op inc [operating income] was up 32%, and it's greater than the other two segments put together. It's also becoming more profitable as the operating income was growing at 41% currency-neutral faster than revenue growth.

Overall sales up 44%, op inc more than doubling, net income tripling. Its fulfillment engine is yielding massive profits despite $2 billion invested in coronavirus safety measures and an additional $1.5 [billion] will be invested in the coming quarter. Next quarter expects 24%-30% year-over-year growth as it's lapping in the first quarter of coronavirus growth.

I don't know if you saw the news today, Amazon and MGM have signed an agreement for Amazon to acquire MGM for 8.45 billion. Bezos told shareholders at the shareholders meeting: "the acquisition thesis is very simple. MGM has a vast deep catalog of much believed, much-beloved movies and shows, we can reimagine and redevelop that IP for the 21st century." Sounds like Disney. He says a lot of that work will be fun and people who love stories will be big beneficiaries. Overall, Amazon continues to fire on all cylinders.

Brian Stoffel: Here's my question about that, Brian, because you know that I have been a huge Amazon fan for most of my investing career. It's been my No. 1 holding. It's paid for lots of things, like the house I'm coming to you from right now. But I'm wondering if you're worried as it gets to be a certain size about, I will call it death by a thousand strokes. What I mean by that is as you've got Etsy. Etsy is not going to be an existential threat to Amazon by itself, but it's got its niche. You've got Wayfair, not an existential threat, but it's got its niche. You've got Workers' Union who it seems like actually aren't that interested right now. If Jeff Bezos fulfills his promise of being world's greatest employer, maybe it'll never be a worry. But the bigger picture and the bigger question I'm trying to ask is, are you worried about Amazon becoming less than what has made it so good because of death by a thousand cuts?

Withers: Yeah, I don't know. I think of comparing it to a massive company that we know, Microsoft, is similar. They've stumbled and bumbled around and missed plenty of opportunities. They missed search. Google captured that massive market. I think they've missed a lot of mobile devices with Apple, customer relationship management, Document management; they were the first ones that came out with a decent word processor. Adobe sprouts up, which is a multi-billion-dollar business.

The list goes on and on with Microsoft, so I view e-commerce in a similar way. It's a huge market and we're really just getting started. Etsy and Wayfair really are focused on some niches and really won't be able to have the same reach and scale as Amazon. I think Amazon will continue to be relevant as its mission is the most customer-centric company and that'll keep customers coming back for years.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Brian Stoffel owns shares of Amazon and Etsy. Brian Withers owns shares of Etsy. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Apple, Etsy, Microsoft, and The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems and Wayfair and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon, long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple, short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon, and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$142.10 (-1.85%) $-2.68
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
$291.32 (-0.26%) $0.77
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$174.55 (0.88%) $1.52
Salesforce, Inc. Stock Quote
Salesforce, Inc.
$187.96 (-0.86%) $-1.63
Adobe Inc. Stock Quote
Adobe Inc.
$437.82 (-2.18%) $-9.74
MGM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
MGM Holdings Inc.
Etsy, Inc. Stock Quote
Etsy, Inc.
$116.91 (-3.27%) $-3.95
Wayfair Inc. Stock Quote
Wayfair Inc.
$69.48 (-5.52%) $-4.06

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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