Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN built its recent success on next-day delivery. But it didn't get there overnight.
Amazon has grown immensely in market capitalization in its two decades-plus as a public company, going from a 1997 IPO market value of $438 million to more than $800 billion. But it's been a bumpy road.
Here's how long it took Amazon to reach some key milestones.
Amazon's Early Days
In its early days, Amazon did seem to grow almost as fast as you could get a package sent to your door, doubling its capitalization within a little over a quarter, and hitting $1 billion shortly thereafter in September of 1997. And it doubled that again very quickly, too, hitting the $2 billion mark just a few months later in March 1998.
Some people were still trying to figure out what Amazon was — when it listed on the Nasdaq it described itself as the "leading online retailer of books" — as the market cap hit $10 billion before the end of 1998.
Now, it's one of the leading retailers of everything, with quarterly revenue numbers that beat what the entire book industry was pulling in 20 years ago. By early 1999 it was over $20 billion — a more than 40-fold increase in under two years. It would top $30 billion before the end of the century. But then, a reckoning.
Dot-Com Bubble Bursts
That rapid growth was part of what quickly came to be known as the dot-com bubble as speculators and regular investors drove up tech stops in the late 1990s, growth that came crashing back down in the early 2000s. Amazon was not left out of the correction. From over $30 billion at the turn of the century, it dropped to under $3 billion by fall of 2001.
But it began riding the rising tide of the market back up through the rest of the 2000s, though it would take until mid-2007 to get back to $30 billion.
Then came another market-wide event that delayed Amazon's rise as it suffered along with so many others in the fallout from the 2008 recession. The company lost half its stock market value between August and November that year.
It quickly recovered that the next year though, and since then the trend has been mostly up.
The $50 billion mark came in late 2009, and finally after two big market drops, a shift to delivering all kinds of products, and a 2006 move into also delivering videos, Amazon hit the $100 billion threshold in April 2012.
Total time from IPO to $100 billion in market cap: just under 15 years.
Amazon would continue to get bigger from there, hitting $500 billion market cap the fall of 2017 and topping $1 trillion earlier this year before the market drop this week.
Amazon Stock Timeline
- May 1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, raising $54 million, and has a market value of $438 million.
- September 1997: $1 billion market cap.
- 1999: $30 billion market cap.
- 2001: Dot-com bubble bursts, dropping market cap to $2.25 billion.
- 2009: $50 billion market cap.
- 2012: $100 billion market cap.
- 2020: $1 trillion market cap.
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