It’s official. Amazon has set a record as the second U.S. company to surpass $1 trillion in market capitalization — Apple hit that milestone a few weeks ago on the heels of a strong quarter. The milestone was brief, with shares falling back down under that threshold.
According to a report in CNBC, with shares rising close to 2 percent in early trading on Tuesday (Sept. 4), Amazon’s stock hit $2,050.50, surpassing $1 trillion in market cap. The stock needed to hit $2,050.27 to reach that milestone.
What could be helping shares is a report out of The New York Times that Amazon is increasing its efforts to lure advertisers its way and that brands are, in turn, increasing their spending with the eCommerce giant. While Amazon makes most of its money on the eCommerce side of things, its other category — which consists of selling ads such as banner and display ads — grew around 130 percent in the first three months of 2018, compared with the first quarter of last year. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, account for more than half of the $88 billion digital ad marketplace. Helping Amazon gain ad dollars is backlash from advertisers against Google and Facebook over data scandals and the placement of ads next to questionable content.
In addition to that, Amazon disclosed Monday (Sept. 3) that Alexa now works with 20,000 devices — a fivefold increase in just eight months. “Just this year, Alexa has sung Happy Birthday millions of times to customers, and she’s told over 100 million jokes,” said Amazon executive Daniel Rausch at Berlin’s IFA tech show this past weekend, according to CNET.
Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of smart home, explained that, at the beginning of 2018, Alexa worked with just over 4,000 devices. The number of brands using Alexa also increased from 1,200 to over 3,500 during the same eight-month period. Some of the devices Alexa now works with include the Huawei AI Cube smart speaker, Asus ZenBook laptops and Yale’s Sync home alarm system. Rausch added that there are currently 50,000 Alexa skills, as well as hundreds of thousands of developers in over 180 countries working on Alexa. In June, Amazon announced that developers can start building voice experiences for customers in Italy and Spain.