Jeff Bezos’ wealth suddenly caught Twitter’s attention on Wednesday amid ‘claims’ that the world’s richest man is set to become a trillionaire, in part thanks to pandemic-driven demand that has sent Amazon stock soaring.
Bezos was trending on Twitter on Wednesday after a months-old study by small business advice platform, Comparisun, resurfaced, claiming that Bezos net worth could reach $1 trillion by 2026.
The company analyzed the market cap of the highest valued firms on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as Forbes’ 25 richest people. Chinese real estate billionaire Xu Jiayin is second on the study’s list.
But Bezos has a long way to go to become the world’s first trillionaire. At the time of publication, Forbes values the 56-year-old’s net worth to be $143 billion. He owns a 11.2% stake in Amazon, and his wealth has surged upwards from around $125 billion in March.
Amazon is predicted to be one of the winners of the pandemic as demand for online shopping, streaming and delivery services flies.
Sales in the first three months of the year topped $75 billion, up from $60 billion in 2019. The potential for a second wave of the virus and further lockdowns could keep that demand high.
Bezos joined Forbes’ list of 400 richest Americans in 1998, four years after he founded Amazon, and had a net worth of $1.6 billion at the time.
Amazon AMZN shares are up more than 28% so far this year. But the company is now up against “the hardest time” it has ever faced, Bezos said in April. The company predicted operating profits of $4 billion in the three months to June, but is now committing that entire amount to “COVID-related expenses” such as higher wages for hourly teams, buying up personal protective equipment for staff, and developing coronavirus testing facilities.
The company has been under fire from former employees—both office staff and warehouse workers—for allegedly silencing them after they spoke out about a lack of protection against the virus. Amazon has let go a number of employees, claiming that they breached company policy.
In February, Bezos pocketed $3.1 billion after selling $4 billion worth of Amazon shares since January.
By Isabel Togoh