Amazon’s profit surged to $513 million in Q1 of 2016, helped by a 28% jump in sales.
The company’s sales hit $29.1 billion for Q1 of 2016, helped by rising sales of its Kindle reading devices and Fire tablet computers.
Both sales and profits were higher than analysts had been expecting and Amazon shares jumped in after hours trading.
Amazon reported strong growth in customers for its Prime service, which includes free delivery and TV shows.
The results were a positive sign for investors who had been rattled by disappointing earnings from Apple and Microsoft.
Amazon’s cloud services unit was an important source of sales growth.
The cloud business rents data storage space and software services to companies, and is Amazon’s fastest growing unit.
Amazon’s revenue rose 64% year-over-year, reaching $2.5 billion.
Investors have been watching Amazon’s cloud operation closely, particularly after one of its biggest customers, Apple, announced it would be moving some of its business elsewhere.
Since the start of 2016 Amazon has added new televisions shows and films to its Prime service, which helped to attract new users.
In April, the company introduced options to pay monthly for the service.
The plan is part of an effort to compete with video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
Amazon also attributed the increased number of Prime members to the expanded list of products eligible for free two-day shipping.
It did not detail sales of devices like the Kindle and Fire table, but did say that the division has seen growth.
“Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” CEO Jeff Bezos said.
Amazon has reported modest holiday profits, but a 15% rise in sales in Q4 2014 has cheered investors.
The online retail giant made a net profit of $214 million for the last three months of 2014, which is a drop of $25 million on the same period in 2013.
However, it was an improvement on the previous quarter, in which Amazon made a net loss of $437 million.
Amazon shares rose by nearly 8% in after-hours trading.
But despite net sales of $89 billion, Amazon made a loss of $241 million for 2014 as a whole.
The company also warned that its finances were “inherently unpredictable”.
It sounded a note of caution for the next few months, saying it could make an operating loss of up to $450 million.
Amazon added that profits may be “materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and consumer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce”.
The web giant has become notorious for its lackluster earnings, and has tended to focus on expanding its business rather than increasing its profitability.
True to form, Amazon’s boss, Jeff Bezos, emphasized the success of a new service in the company’s results, rather than addressing the company’s figures.
He referred to Amazon’s membership scheme, Amazon Prime, as a “one-of-a-kind, all-you-can-eat, physical-digital hybrid”, adding that its user base grew by 53% last year.
However, other recent projects have not been quite as successful.
Amazon’s foray into the smartphone market, with the shopping-focused Fire phone, has hardly been a bestseller, and there have been reports that the tech firm is winding up its mobile payments service.
Most recently, it was forced to shut down its entry into the nappy market just six weeks after launching the initiative.