Amazon launches AI shopping assistant as holiday shoppers increase revenue

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Holiday shoppers contributed to strong Amazon revenue growth in the latest quarter, the company said Thursday, the same day it launched a new artificial intelligence-powered shopping assistant.

The leading e-commerce company on Thursday reported revenue of $170 billion for the quarter ended December, beating Wall Street estimates and growing 14% compared to the same period last year.

The company is now looking to give customers a new way to shop, while signaling to investors that it is doubling its efforts in the field of artificial intelligence. Ahead of Thursday’s earnings report, Amazon announced it would add an AI-powered shopping assistant called “Rufus” to its e-commerce store.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said during a call with analysts that Rufus was “trained on our very expansive product catalog, as well as our community Q&A, customer reviews, and the broader web.” “It allows customers to discover items in a completely different way than they would on an e-commerce site.”

Rufus launched in beta Thursday to a small subset of customers on the Amazon app, but will roll out to additional customers in the US in the coming weeks.

Amazon also reported quarterly earnings of about $10.6 billion on Thursday.

Amazon’s earnings over the past holiday quarter also come as its business enters 2024 in much better shape than it was a year ago. At the start of 2023, the company was weathering geopolitical uncertainty, macroeconomic headwinds, and rising inflationary pressures, as well as a strong hit in pandemic-induced demand for e-commerce. Since late 2022, CEO Jassy has taken aggressive cost-cutting measures, including… Multiple rounds of mass layoffs. Some layoffs at Amazon It continued this year.

The fourth quarter marked “a record holiday shopping season and closes out 2023 strong for Amazon,” Jassy said in a statement accompanying the earnings.

The company’s stock jumped more than 7% in after-hours trading on Thursday, immediately after the earnings were announced.

“The bottom line is that despite all the concerns plaguing the tech sector, Amazon has managed to perform surprisingly well,” Jesse Cohen, chief analyst at Investing.com, said in a note Thursday evening. “The results indicate that ongoing cost-cutting measures are having a positive impact on Amazon’s business prospects.”

Amazon Web Services, a long-time money generator for the company, saw revenue rise 13% last quarter to $24.2 billion.

Jassy has also spent the past year signaling to investors that the company is Investing heavily in generative artificial intelligence technology, So that we do not fall behind in the AI ​​arms race in the technology sector. Jassy previously said he expects productive AI to lead to “tens of billions of dollars in revenue for AWS” in the coming years.

Amazon also said its advertising revenue rose 27% year over year. The company also announced optimistic guidance for the current quarter.

Amazon, one of the so-called The “magnificent seven” technology stocks.Its shares witnessed a sharp rise over the past year.

Amazon shares have risen nearly 90% since falling to $84 a share in December 2022, when Fed rate hikes, persistent inflation and fears of a recession battered the e-commerce giant’s shares.

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