Big Tech giants drop back-to-back records (thanks to your 2021 spending)

Monday, May 3, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks |
_Apple checks the earnings iMessage [Flashpop/DigitalVision via GettyImages]_

Apple checks the earnings iMessage [Flashpop/DigitalVision via GettyImages]

Feeling like Jordan '96,'97... The "Big Tech 5" demolished earnings with jaw-dropping records. Despite the vax rollout and reopenings, some online pandemic habits seem to have only ramped up from January to March...

  • Amazon had its best first quarter ever, as the ecomm boom continued. Sales surged 44% from 2020 to a wild $109B, and profit more than 3X'd. Fun fact: ads were one of the 'Zons fastest-growing categories. Oh, and Bezos called Prime Video and AWS "our kids" (#nostalgic).
  • Apple's sales soared 54% to a Q1 record, and profit more than doubled to a shocking $24B. All product categories saw double-digit sales growth, but iPhone brought home the real iBacon (thanks, 5G upgrades).
  • Google also smashed sales expectations, and profit more than doubled to $18B. YouTube was the star, with sales jumping 49% to $6B (more than Snap, LinkedIn and Pinterest... combined).
  • Facebook's sales soared 48% to $26B (nearly all from ads). Profit ~2X'd, thanks to a surge in ad prices. FB users, including Insta and WhatsApp, jumped 15% to 3.5B — aka: nearly half Earth's population.
  • Microsoft posted its strongest revenue growth since 2018 (partly thanks to higher PC sales).

BTW... The "Big Tech Five" makes up ~22% of the S&P 500's value, which reflects the total stock market. After a year of stocks thriving while the economy suffered, the economy seems to be starting to catch up. And consumer spending is playing a big role.


Big Tech's records reflect economic confidence... Consumer spending is rebounding thanks to stimulus(es), vaccines, and business reopenings. Retail sales surged 10% in March, the largest jump in a year. That benefited Amazon, but it also boosted ad giants, who rely on your spending to sell ads. Spending fueled 6.4% GDP growth last quarter, the second-fastest pace since 2003. Meanwhile, the techy Nasdaq index is up 62% over the past year. But a few clouds could rain on Big Tech's parade. Like: increasing antitrust scrutiny (the Apple-Epic "App Store monopoly" trial starts today) and inflation concerns.