Amazon (AMZN 0.83%) is best known as the world's largest e-commerce giant, but it has expanded far beyond those roots. It's now one of the most diverse technology organizations investors can own, with a leadership position in cloud services, a booming advertising segment, and even a hand in the electric vehicle industry.
That's why it's important to monitor Amazon's financial results -- it operates in so many areas that it can offer investors a unique insight into the health of the consumer and the economy overall. The company released its third-quarter earnings report on Oct. 27, and although it was met with pessimism, there were several positive takeaways.
Amazon stock is down 45% from its all-time high, but here's why investors should consider buying the dip.
Amazon's core businesses are weathering the storm
Amazon's largest driver of revenue is e-commerce, so it's no surprise the company is one of the hardest hit this year by weakening economic conditions. It has been dealt a double whammy: High inflation is sending the company's costs soaring, and combined with rising interest rates, it's also restraining consumers' spending power.
But despite a small dip in the international segment, the company's third-quarter net sales generated year-over-year growth of 15%, which was the fastest rate of increase in 2022 so far. Amazon continues to invest in expanding its footprint, opening 12 new fulfillment centers during the quarter and officially launching in Belgium with 180 million products to start.
Plus, more high-profile brands continue to tap Amazon's unmatched online presence by opening stores on Amazon.com, making their products more accessible to consumers. Producer of digitally capable at-home exercise equipment Peloton Interactive was one of the most notable recruits during the third quarter. Amazon customers were searching for Peloton products about 500,000 times per month, so those queries can now be fulfilled, which is a win for both companies.
But growth in Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- the company's industry-leading cloud services platform -- was a little disappointing, as sales jumped just 28% year over year. It marked a deceleration from the second-quarter growth rate of 33%. Despite AWS accounting for less than one-fifth of Amazon's total revenue, it has been responsible for all of the company's operating income during 2022, so if it continues to slow, it may impact the whole organization's profitability.
The good news is the cloud computing industry certainly isn't going anywhere. It's slated to become a $1.5 trillion annual opportunity by 2030, so the slowdown in AWS might simply be a temporary blip.
Advertising was a bright spot
Most technology companies that rely on advertising to generate revenue have been decimated this year. When the economy is weak, businesses trim their marketing budgets for fear they'll get a lower return on their investment as consumers are buying fewer products.
But remarkably, Amazon's advertising unit just delivered 30% year-over-year growth, which was its fastest pace in 2022 so far, generating $9.5 billion in revenue. The company's flagship website gets more than 2 billion hits per month, so it's a very attractive place for sellers to market their goods.
But Amazon's opportunity to sell advertising extends far beyond its website alone. The company continues to build an impressive portfolio of media assets, especially on its Prime streaming platform, which now hosts the NFL's Thursday Night Football. The first broadcast drew 15 million viewers, and it drove the three biggest hours of Prime subscription sign-ups in Amazon's history.
Combined with its other platforms like Twitch streaming and Fire TV, Amazon's ad business could become a critical source of growth as time goes on.
Why Amazon stock is a buy now
Amazon lays bare the benefits of having a diverse business. Even in a difficult economic environment, the company managed to deliver 15% top-line growth in Q3 with $127 billion in total revenue -- and it would've been 19% if not for the strong U.S. dollar.
AWS has been the company's growth engine over the last couple of years, but its recent minor slowdown has been offset by strength in other areas of Amazon's business.
Amazon also managed to generate a net income (profit) of $2.9 billion in Q3, albeit with a $1.1 contribution from its equity stake in electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian Automotive, which increased in value during the quarter. But that's just another example of how Amazon's diversity is delivering gains for investors.
The company's guidance for the fourth quarter suggests there might be weakness ahead at the most important time of the year -- the holidays. That spooked investors who were quick to sell Amazon stock, but since it has declined by 45% from its all-time high, this could be a great chance to buy in for the long term.
The recent economic weakness won't last forever, and businesses need digital technology at an increasing rate which will buoy AWS. Plus, with its advertising segment continuing to expand, Amazon seems to be a pretty safe bet over the next five to 10 years.