Shares of e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) continue to climb to record highs, propelling its founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person with a net worth of over $100 billion.
The 12-figure mogul has seen his net worth rise $33 billion this year, the latest to pass the $100 billion mark since Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Bill Gates in 1999. Investors have sent shares up 3.4% since Thursday at $1,195.83 on Monday close following news that online purchases on Black Friday were up 18.4% over last year, according to Bloomberg. As Amazon grows its dominance, the Street is upbeat on its ability to continue raking in a bigger shares of online spending over the holiday season.
It is unclear what Bezos will choose to do with his amassed wealth. Unlike Gates, Buffett and other business icons, he does not have a large focus on philanthropy, although he did send a tweet asking his followers for ideas. Gates, who currently has a net worth of $89.4 billion, would be worth over $150 billion if he had not given away a large sum of his shares, cash and other assets to charity. (See also: Citi Answers: Which Retailers Should Amazon Buy?)
Half of All Black Friday Sales
On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day in America, the Seattle-based retail giant is estimated to have accounted for up to 50% of all e-commerce sales, according to GBH Insights. Daniel Ives, an analyst at the research house, attributes Amazon’s “eye-popping” sales performance this year to its Prime membership program.
He estimates that Prime members spent about 25% more in 2017 than last year. Ives suggests that total e-commerce sales could rise 20% this holiday season, driving Amazon to possibly beat fourth quarter sales expectations by 5%. The analyst rates Amazon as “Highly Attractive” and holds a 12-month price target of $1,270, reflecting an 6.2% upside from Monday close. AMZN has gained a whopping 59.5% year-to-date (YTD) versus the S&P 500’s 16.2% increase over the same period. (See also: Retailers Take on Amazon for Black Friday.)