It’s been a long journey for Amazon since Jeff Bezos founded it in 1994. 2003 was the first time the company reported an annual net profit, but it wasn't until 2015 when it started delivering somewhat consistently.
Now, it has hit a milestone: An Amazon share briefly held a nice and round one-thousand-dollar value this past week, making it the fifth priciest U.S. stock, right above Google’s parent company, Alphabet (Class A).
The number one-thousand may sound nice, but the number 'two' seems to hold far more value. Amazon’s market cap is now slightly more than Walmart’s – multiplied by two. Amazon stands at $459 billion, while Walmart is at $228 billion.
As Recode points out, it took Amazon 18 years to catch up to Walmart, but only two years since then to be worth double. Amazon's stock may have hit a great value, but the speed at which it has grown and eclipsed its competition may be greater.
Walmart realizes the threat Amazon possesses, and have been trying to catch up to Amazon by buying up companies to gain a foothold in the online e-commerce business.
Amazon, meanwhile, has been putting its fingers in every jar it can find; Alexa is getting smarter, while the Echo lineup continues to diversify; drive-up groceries are a thing, and so is a chain of physical Amazon stores with no queues or checkouts. Amazon’s Web Services business have proven to play a significant part in the company’s success, and may even hold power to bring the Internet to a halt.
However, there is a slight issue with Amazon’s share hitting a number this high – it's no longer affordable for new and young investors.
Amazon split its share three times during its younger years in the dot-com era, a move that boosts the number of shares to lower the per-share price.
Amazon’s first split was in 1998 – a two-for-one, giving each existing shareholder two shares for every one share. The following year saw two splits – one in January and the other in September, the former was a three-for-one, while the latter was a two-for-one.
But, it seems, the Seattle giant isn’t too keen on doing another split this time around.
At Amazon’s investor meeting last week, a shareholder asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos if the company was considering another split to make the shares more affordable for the middle class and young investors. Bezos replied that the company doesn't “have any plans to do this at this point, but [will] continue to look at that.”
It’s been a long journey for Amazon, and its growth doesn't seem to be slowing down – not yet at least.