Facebook posted record quarterly revenues on Wednesday, surpassing analysts’ expectations as the company’s push into ecommerce during coronavirus lockdowns bore fruit.
Fourth-quarter revenues at the social media group rose 33 per cent to $28.1bn, beating analyst expectations of an increase to $26.4bn. Net income jumped 53 per cent to $11.2bn, or $3.88 a share.
In a statement, the company’s chief financial officer David Wehner said the business had been boosted by “the ongoing shift towards online commerce” and “the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services”.
The company bet big on “social commerce” across all its apps last year as people retreated indoors under shelter-in-place restrictions. It launched Facebook Shops, which allows businesses to set up digital storefronts, as well as payments tools in several markets.
But Mr Wehner added that Facebook faced “significant uncertainty” in 2021, citing the potential for a reversal in the commerce trends that have driven its business, changes to Apple’s privacy policies that impact its ability to target advertising and “regulatory concerns”.
The US Federal Trade Commission and 46 US states last month filed antitrust lawsuits against the company, accusing it of wielding its dominance to crush competition. It also faces scrutiny over its content moderation policies and processes following Facebook’s perceived role in facilitating the Capitol riots and its decision to suspend former US president Donald Trump’s account “indefinitely”.