Seattle, WA– Spurred by higher-than-expected results for its Alexa Virtual Assistant and an unprecedented number of new Prime members,’s fourth quarter sales were up nearly 40%, totaling $60.5 billion in sales.

Prime is poised to become the loyalty program for Whole Foods Market stores.

According to results released on Thursday, operating income increased nearly 70% to $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with operating income of $1.3 billion in fourth quarter 2016.

Net income was $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $749 million in fourth quarter 2016. And for the full year, net sales increased 31% to $177.9 billion, compared with $136.0 billion in 2016.

In the statement released before the conference call, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Alexa's performance far exceeded company projections, and as a result the company would “double down” on its investment in this area going forward.

“We’ve reached an important point where other companies and developers are accelerating adoption of Alexa," he added. "There are now over 30,000 skills from outside developers, customers can control more than 4,000 smart home devices from 1,200 unique brands with Alexa, and we’re seeing strong response to our new far-field voice kit for manufacturers."

Other highlights:
  • In 2017, more than 5 billion items shipped with Prime worldwide.
  • Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot were the best-selling products in 2017 across all of Amazon. Customers purchased tens of millions of Echo devices last year.
  • The Alexa Skills store now offers more than 30,000 skills, including new developer tools for Alexa Gadgets and gaming experiences, such as Activision’s new Ghost skill for console game Destiny 2. Alexa Voice Service (AVS) adoption among device makers continues to grow. Brands announced new AVS products at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, including: new integrations for Alexa on PCs from HP, Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo; a new automotive integration with Toyota; and new devices from Polk Audio, Anker, Jabra, and more.
  • Amazon hired nearly 130,000 employees globally in 2017, excluding acquisitions. Additionally, Amazon now employs more than 17,500 veterans and military spouses across the U.S., and plans to hire over 10,000 more by 2021.

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