With a total of 64,588,418 shares, Jeff Bezos stands as the primary individual investor and holds a 12.7% ownership stake in Amazon. Another prominent individual investor is Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jessy, who possesses 94,729 shares. In terms of institutional investors, major players include mutual funds like The Vanguard Group, with a 6.6% ownership, and BlackRock, with a 5.7% ownership.
The Bezos Empire
Jeff Bezos, renowned as the founder of the e-commerce giant Amazon in 1994, holds ownership in various industries such as healthcare, retail, robotics, real estate, and media. Many of these companies have been acquired by Amazon over the years, while others have been directly invested in by Bezos himself through his investment arm, Bezos Expeditions.
Jeff Bezos’ ownership of Amazon has made him the wealthiest individual globally. Moreover, Amazon itself boasts numerous subsidiaries!
Amazon is a consumer e-commerce platform with a diverse business model that spans e-commerce, cloud services, advertising, streaming, and more. Over time, Amazon has acquired several companies. Among its 12 subsidiaries are AbeBooks.com, Audible, CamiXology, Fabric.com, IMDb, PillPack, Shopbop, Souq.com, Twitch, Whole Foods Market, Woot!, and Zappos.
As of 2023, Jeff Bezos’ ownership stake is valued at over $121 billion. Following Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ divorce, the Amazon ownership structure did not witness significant changes. Jeff Bezos retained both voting and controlling power for all stocks co-owned with MacKenzie Bezos. Hence, of the 15% ownership shared between them, Jeff holds 100% of the voting power. Additionally, Jeff holds 75% ownership, while MacKenzie holds the remaining 25%.
Amazon’s Dedication to Customer Satisfaction
In Amazon’s Shareholders’ Letter for 2018, Jeff Bezos delves into the Amazon business model and highlights a few key lessons the company has learned over time. These lessons serve as fundamental knowledge for entrepreneurs of all sizes in order to steer clear of pitfalls associated with running a successful business. One pivotal aspect that has fueled Amazon’s incredible growth is what Jeff Bezos terms “customer obsession.”
This customer obsession has positioned Amazon as a trillion-dollar company, with Jeff Bezos witnessing his wealth exceed sixty billion dollars.
Amazon’s Significant Business Milestones
In 2022, Amazon achieved several crucial milestones:
With revenues surpassing $35 billion, Amazon’s subscription-based service, Prime, played a pivotal role for the company. More than 15 years since its launch, Prime surpassed 100 million paid members worldwide. Prime not only generates substantial revenue but also fosters repeat customers while competing against services like Netflix by offering an extensive streaming library.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), which was non-existent just a few years ago, generated over $22 billion in operating income in 2022. It is currently the most successful business segment within Amazon, accounting for over $80 billion in revenue that year. AWS’s profitability contributed to a decrease in net losses, as the company reported a net loss of $2.7 billion against revenues of $514 billion.
By 2017, more than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide came from third-party sellers, including small and medium-sized businesses. Today, Amazon is considered one of the largest platforms globally.
Alexa & Amazon Devices
Alexa-enabled devices are among the best-selling items on Amazon. With tens of millions of Echo devices sold, Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa continue to dominate across all categories and manufacturers.
Amazon’s flywheel represents one of the most effective mental models in the business world.
The Amazon Flywheel, also known as the Amazon Virtuous Cycle, leverages customer experience to drive traffic to the platform and promote third-party sellers. This, in turn, enhances the selection of goods available, enables Amazon to improve its cost structure, and subsequently reduce prices. This continuous process propels the flywheel forward.
Amazon’s Humble Beginnings: A Simple Bookstore
As stated in the 1997 shareholder letter signed by Jeff Bezos:
From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value. We realized that the Web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way, and began serving them with books. We brought them a much larger selection than was possible in a physical store (our store would now occupy six football fields), and presented it in a useful, easy-to-search, and easy-to-browse format, with the store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
Rather than aiming for immediate expansion and becoming the “everything store” we know today, Amazon initially began as a bookstore. It conquered that niche and gradually expanded to monopolize and disrupt other industries until it became a force that disrupted entire sectors.
The Present Amazon Business Model
Today, Amazon operates with a diversified business model that generated half a trillion dollars in revenue in 2022.
Online stores accounted for about 43% of Amazon’s revenue, followed by third-party seller services and physical stores. However, the fastest-growing segments, holding significant roles within Amazon, include Amazon AWS, subscription services, and advertising.
By 2022, Amazon achieved a revenue of over $513 billion, nearly closing the gap with retail giant Walmart, who reported over $572 billion in revenue that year.
Each component of Amazon’s business model plays a distinct role. For instance, the e-commerce segment, which remains the company’s core, operates at negative margins. On the other hand, segments like advertising, Prime, and AWS operate at wider profit margins. The e-commerce segment serves as the foundation of Amazon’s flywheel.
Related Tech Ownership Case Studies
For further insights into tech ownership, here are a few case studies:
- Who Owns OpenAI
- Who Owns Airbnb
- Who Owns Google
- Who Owns Facebook
- Who Owns Apple
- Who Owns Microsoft
- Who Owns Tesla
- Who Owns PayPal
- Who Owns Netflix
- Who Owns TikTok
- Who Owns YouTube
- Who Owns Twitter
- Who Owns Spotify
- Who Owns Nvidia
- Who Owns Uber
- Who Owns Shopify
- Who Owns Roblox
- Who Owns Twitch
- Who Owns Zoom
- Who Owns Slack
- Who Owns Activision
- Who Owns Pixar
- Who Owns Salesforce
- Who Owns Snapchat
- Who Owns Coinbase
Feel free to explore these case studies for further insights into the ownership structures of various tech giants!