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Billions in profit and huge sales: Facebook breaks record after record

A look at the figures for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the annual financial statements on Facebook shows one thing above all: Facebook's power in the digital space continues to grow. The corona pandemic or the Stop Hate for Profit campaign have hardly harmed the company either. One is almost used to sales and profit records from the Mark Zuckerbergs company. Even so, $ 28.1 billion in sales and $ 12.8 billion in profit are hugely convincing results. How great the influence of Facebook and its subsidiaries such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger actually is can also be seen from the new record number of monthly active users on these platforms: 3.3 billion. In December 2020 alone, around 2.8 billion people were active on Facebook each month.

$ 86 billion in sales in 2020 - mostly through advertising

The quarterly figures recently published by Facebook make it clear that the corona pandemic is unlikely to have harmed the company. Indeed, CEO goes Mark Zuckerberg assume that many people and companies rely on Facebook's solutions especially in these times:

We had a strong end to the year as people and businesses continued to use our services during these challenging times. I'm excited about our product roadmap for 2021 as we build new and meaningful ways to create economic opportunity, build community and help people just have fun.

The fourth quarter mentioned by Zuckerberg was particularly good. The turnover of 28 billion US dollars (33 percent increase YoY) is a record as is the profit. Net income for Q4 is $ 11.2 billion, a YoY increase of a whopping 53 percent.

Around 98 percent of 2020 revenue - which totaled $ 86 billion - was generated by Facebook through advertising. The amount earned varies depending on the region. In the US and Canada, it was 13.7 billion US dollars in the fourth quarter of 2020, while in Europe it was just under seven billion US dollars. It was $ 4.8 billion in the Asia-Pacific region and $ 2.5 billion in the rest of the world.

The immense growth of Facebook and its sales should continue (conditionally) in 2021. Facebook's CFO David Wehner explains the company's growth:

We believe our business has benefited from two broad economic trends playing out during the pandemic. The first is the ongoing shift towards online commerce. The second is the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services. We believe these shifts provided a tailwind to our advertising business in the second half of 2020 given our strength in product verticals sold via online commerce and our lower exposure to service verticals like travel. Looking forward, a moderation or reversal in one or both of these trends could serve as a headwind to our advertising revenue growth.

However, he warns that data protection regulations from Europe and Apple's mandatory tracking warning on iOS 14, which is due to start in spring 2021, could affect advertising revenue.

More and more users on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

The Facebook family from the aforementioned platforms now has 3.3 billion active users per month, and 2.6 billion daily. This corresponds to a growth of 14 and 15 percent respectively compared to the previous year. And the number of users who are only active on Facebook every day: increased by eleven percent (YoY); it is now 1.84 billion. The Facebook cosmos is more important than ever for the people of this world and for the entire digital advertising system. This was also ensured by the acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, which were subsequently criticized for concerns about antitrust law.

So while the company continues to grow (the number of employees: the number of employees was increased by around 30 percent in 2020), the stock market is unimpressed. In after-hours trading, the share even slipped slightly into the red; However, their value is still higher than that of Microsoft's share, for example. You can see all the figures for 2020 and the fourth quarter of the year on Facebook in the company's quarterly report.