SEATTLE, Washington - Lockdowns and restrictions imposed across the globe to curb the spread of COVID-19 have given a major boost to Amazon.com in an unexpected quarter.
While the online retail giant has long dominated the U.S. e-commerce market, its growth has lagged outside of its home country. But lately, Amazon's international sales have begun to pick up.
In the quarter ending December 2020, Amazon's overseas sales shot up to US$37.5 billion, a growth of 57 percent compared to the corresponding period one year ago, digital news outlet Quartz reported.
The figure was far higher than the 40-percent revenue growth recorded in Amazon's biggest market - North America, which reported $75.3 billion in sales during the same quarter.
"I would attribute it really to the government actions and lockdowns that we saw, especially in the UK and Europe," Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during a recent call with investors and analysts.
In the past few months, many brick-and-mortar stores in Europe, which were already struggling to keep afloat during the pandemic, were forced to shut as governments announced new restrictions on businesses to keep coronavirus cases in check. This further benefited e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon.
According to Olsavsky, Amazon's decision to move Prime Day to the end of the year was another factor that contributed to higher overseas sales during the quarter.