How Covid-19 made Amazon’s Jeff Bezos the richest person in history, adjusted for inflation – now worth double Elon Musk
It's a sum that has never been amassed by one person before, even when adjusting for inflation.
Bezos' fortune is also the equivalent of one per cent of US gross domestic product, which sat at US$21.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2020 but dropped to US$19.4 trillion last quarter, according to the Department of Commerce.
Amazon has experienced a surge in online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic as people turn to online shopping while at home, sending the company's market capitalisation through the roof. It's now valued at US$1.7 trillion.
Last quarter, Amazon blew past Wall Street's expectations, reporting US$5.2 billion in net profit, even after warning investors it would spend all of the US$4 billion it had expected to make for the quarter on Covid-19-related initiatives.
As a result, Bezos has seen his net worth nearly double during the pandemic: jumping by US$97 billion from pandemic lows in early March, according to Bloomberg.
Most of Bezos' wealth comes from his stock in Amazon, in which he has an 11 per cent stake, according to 2020 SEC filings cited by Bloomberg. He also owns The Washington Post and the space exploration company Blue Origin, which competes with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
By comparison, US household wealth during the first quarter plummeted by 5.6 per cent, the largest drop since the 1950s, and more than half of US households have lost income this year.
Wealth and income inequality in the US had already hit record highs before the pandemic. But in a sign that economic fallout from the coronavirus has concentrated wealth even further than before, data from the US Federal Reserve shows that the top one per cent of Americans actually saw their share of overall wealth in the US decrease from 29.3 per cent to 27.8 per cent during the first quarter of 2020, even as those at the very top saw massive gains.
In particular, those gains have gone to executives, founders, and early investors of the largest US tech companies, which surged past Wall Street expectations last quarter. Of the 12 wealthiest Americans included in IPS's analysis, eight hailed from the tech industry.
This article originally appeared in Business Insider.
The Amazon CEO is now worth nearly double Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk – his closest competitors in Forbes’ and Bloomberg billionaires’ ranking – but all of the tech titans are enjoying enormous increases in personal wealth, with global lockdowns proving good for those at very top