Amazon.com blew past Wall Street's earnings expectations on Thursday as holiday sales climbed some 15 percent, sending the company's shares rallying 14 percent in after-hours trading.
Amazon issued fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, down from 51 cents per share a year ago, but soaring past expectations of 17 cents.
Revenue rose 15 percent year-over-year, to $29.33 billion, but that trailed analysts' estimates of $29.67 billion. Excluding currency headwinds, the company said revenue increased 18 percent.
Amazon Prime, its annual membership program that costs $99 a year, was a bright spot for the e-commerce giant.
The company said worldwide Prime memberships grew 53 percent last year—up 50 percent in the U.S. and "even a bit faster" abroad.
"When we raised the price of Prime membership last year, we were confident that customers would continue to find it the best bargain in the history of shopping," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. "[I]n 2014 alone we paid billions of dollars for Prime shipping and invested $1.3 billion in Prime Instant Video."