Shares of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), the world’s largest retailer and cloud services provider, rose during the first quarter after the company reported strong financial results. Amazon continues to benefit from its flywheel strategy, where more participation from Prime members drives greater loyalty and purchasing on Amazon.com. Indeed, according to recent surveys, Amazon captured 53% of U.S. e-commerce sales growth in 2016 (EMarketer, Inc.) and a full 55% of U.S. online shoppers begin their product discovery right on Amazon’s site (Activate Tech and Media Outlook). Moreover, Amazon is the world’s dominant provider of cloud computing services, with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) segment achieving an over $14 billion run rate and still growing almost 50%. We believe AWS will be a significant incremental contributor to Amazon’s overall value creation. Finally, the company also continues to invest in new and potentially large business opportunities, such as TV content, voice-controlled services (Echo and Alexa), digital advertising, e-finance, business supplies and apparel. (Ashim Mehra)
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From the Baron Opportunity Fund first quarter 2017 shareholder letter.