Throughout this challenging year, Amazon helped safely deliver much-needed smiles around the globe. We invested billions of dollars to help small- and medium-sized businesses continue to grow and to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers—including more than $2.5 billion in bonus pay to front-line workers. We also donated millions of items this holiday through product and monetary donations to thousands of charitable organizations worldwide.
“Amazonians around the world have truly shown what it means to be customer-centric and support our communities this year,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer at Amazon. “When our customers—including healthcare workers on the front lines—most needed essential supplies, our teams and partners went above and beyond to stock and deliver those items. When it became clear that COVID-19 testing was going to be important, Amazonians across the company moved quickly to build our own testing capacity so we could help protect employees and deliver products to customers. And when customers needed a little extra holiday cheer, millions of employees and partners worked together to deliver more savings and holiday gifts than ever before. We couldn’t be prouder of, or more thankful for, our teams around the world.”
As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at how Amazon employees and our partners were able to deliver smiles like never before this holiday season and throughout 2020.
We delivered billions of items to customers around the world this holiday season, added even more ways for customers to receive their holiday items, provided useful tips to make the holidays bright, and helped customers stay connected with loved ones.
- We delivered more than 1.5 billion toys, home products, beauty and personal care products, and electronics worldwide this holiday.
- Some of the best-selling items included ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game, Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro Toy, Jenga Classic Game, Just Dance 2021 - Nintendo Switch Standard Edition, Sengled Smart LED Light Bulb, all-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, COSORI Air Fryer Max XL Electric Hot Oven, Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, iRobot Roomba 675, Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer, and Neutrogena Cleansing Face Wipes.
- Matching pajama sets for the whole family, animal prints, snuggly fleece, and bold kicks were some of the popular gifts to give and get this holiday season, as seen in the Amazon Fashion gift guides, which were curated by influencers such as Blair Eadie, Rocky Barnes, and Charli D’Amelio.
- Luxury Stores was the ultimate one stop shop for gifting this holiday season. From must-have tote bags in Mark Cross’ holiday gifting suite to “treat yourself” skin care sets from The Conservatory and RéVive Skincare, customers found special pieces for everyone on their holiday lists.
- We launched Climate Pledge Friendly, a program that helps customers discover and shop for more sustainable products.
- Amazon saved the day for the customer with the last item delivered on Christmas Eve—a copy of the book "Twas the Evening of Christmas."
- We delivered over 8 million items to alternative delivery locations this holiday season, including an Amazon Hub location, or Amazon physical retail store like Amazon 4-star, and Amazon Books.
- While customers couldn’t always be together this year, they used Alexa video calling to connect with each other twice as many times this holiday season compared to last year.
- Customers kept their homes merry and bright, asking Alexa tens of millions of times to help illuminate holiday lighting this season—that’s equal to more than once every second.
- Many customers needed a moment of peace this holiday season. Outside of holiday music, customers played more than 1.5 times the amount of “meditation” music on Alexa-enabled devices compared to the same period last year.
- Keeping holiday cooking traditions alive, this season customers asked Alexa for recipes and cooking advice tens of millions of times through Christmas. Some of the most popular recipes included the festive favorites of turkey and cookies, and unique additions to the holiday table such as pizza and chili.
- Alexa helped tens of millions of customers find the perfect gift for everyone on their list this year by providing gift suggestions and helping customers make and share lists, add items to carts, and make purchases.
- Families loved to gather together and enjoy holiday entertainment on Fire TV. This year, some of the most popular holiday movie titles requested through Alexa on Fire TV included newer classics such as “Elf” and “The Christmas Chronicles,” along with favorites like “Home Alone” and “The Grinch.”
- Kids loved learning with Amazon Kids+ this holiday season. They spent tens of millions of hours with educational content and read so many books that if they were laid end to end, the books would reach all the way from Seattle to the North Pole and back.
Amazon is a great place to work, with highly competitive pay, benefits from day one, and training programs for in-demand jobs. We prioritize the safety and health of employees above all else, and we invested more than $10 billion to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers throughout 2020. We implemented more than 150 significant process enhancements, from deep cleaning of our facilities to processes that allow for effective social distancing, and more.
- Amazon invested $2.5 billion in front-line employee bonuses and incentives this year, including a recent $500 million special holiday bonus. This is on top of our highly competitive starting wage of at least $15 per hour (two times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25) and great benefits that begin on day one.
- Our employees embrace customer obsession and passion for invention, and they see Amazon as a great place to develop their careers. This year alone, we promoted more than 35,000 operations employees in the U.S. And more than 30,000 people participated in our Career Choice program since we launched this initiative, which pre-pays up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in fields of study that help employees transition into higher-paying, in-demand jobs available in their communities.
- We established a $25 million relief fund for partners, such as delivery drivers, and seasonal associates facing financial hardship or quarantine.
- We made onsite COVID-19 testing available for employees at hundreds of sites in the U.S. An Amazon employee is tested for coronavirus every 10 seconds.
Small- and medium-sized businesses
Amazon continued to support small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the pandemic, investing more than $18 billion to help independent businesses grow their sales on Amazon this year. We also expanded our commitment to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by spending more than $100 million on new promotional activities to help small businesses connect with customers beginning with Prime Day and continuing through the holiday season. Amazon also designed new ways for small businesses to reach customers with a dedicated support small storefront encouraging customers to shop small businesses by region or category, and allowing customers to meet the business owners.
- This holiday season has been the best ever for independent businesses selling on Amazon—nearly all of which are small and medium-sized businesses—with worldwide sales growing over 50% compared to the same time period in 2019.
- During the holiday season, American small- and medium-sized businesses sold nearly 1 billion products in Amazon’s store.
- This year, Amazon launched more than 250 tools and services to help sellers manage and grow their businesses.
- In 2020, we hosted over 1,000 educational events for small- and medium-sized businesses around the world, with more than 150,000 attendees, through programs like Amazon Small Business Academy.
- Since the start of the pandemic, we absorbed more than $5 billion in operational costs on behalf of independent businesses selling in Amazon’s store, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, and expect to invest billions more through 2021. As we look ahead with vaccines on the horizon, other logistics providers have already announced their annual fee increases. In a normal year, we’d be doing the same, but this isn’t a normal year. We are postponing our annual fulfillment fee adjustments through June 1, 2021 to provide stability and support for small- and medium-sized businesses during what will likely remain a challenging winter.
- We granted over $11 million in cash grants and free rent to more than 900 small businesses in the greater Seattle area as part of our Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund.
- More than 700 independent businesses—mostly small- and medium-sized businesses—streamed with the Amazon Live Creator app this holiday season, with customers engaging with these sellers tens of thousands of times via live chat.
- In 2020, we provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits to help early-stage startups accelerate their growth and development.
Amazon helped support communities in dozens of countries across the globe this holiday season and throughout 2020. We partnered with local organizations to deliver meals to underserved families and vulnerable seniors, and provided disaster relief support, emergency aid items, and millions of dollars of product and monetary donations to schools to support online learning.
- We donated to thousands of charities worldwide this holiday season.
- Our customers donated more than 1.5 million items from AmazonSmile Charity Lists to nonprofits.
- We partnered with food banks and schools to deliver more than 12 million meals to underserved families and vulnerable seniors in more than 25 U.S. cities and in communities in Australia, Japan, Singapore, Spain, and the UK.
- We donated more than one million emergency aid items, including water, generators, air filters, food, KN95 masks, and cleaning supplies, to community partners providing disaster relief to people affected by wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Hurricane Laura along the Gulf Coast.
- We donated more than $10 million of PPE, including 4.4 million masks, 273,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, thousands of contactless thermometers, and logistical support to Direct Relief and Feeding America. The masks went to over 200 of Direct Relief’s partner clinics and Feeding America’s food banks and agencies in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
- Globally, Amazon donated more than $237 million to hundreds of thousands of charitable organizations through AmazonSmile.
- Amazon Future Engineer more than doubled its reach, adding more than 3,000 schools to its program, and serving more than 5,000 schools and 550,000 students in need with computer science coursework across the U.S.
- Through Amazon’s support for organizations combating systemic racism in the U.S., including a campaign to match employee donations, more than $27 million has been donated by the Amazon community to organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Equal Justice Initiative, and Black Lives Matter NAACP, National Urban League and UNCF, among others.
- Whole Foods Market raised more than $3 million to help alleviate global poverty, improve children’s nutrition, and expand healthy food access through its three foundations: Whole Planet, Whole Kids, and Whole Cities.
- We announced plans to provide free technical skills training in cloud computing to 29 million people around the world to help workers keep their skills relevant and transition into new in-demand jobs.
- We announced 26 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects. These new projects will make the company the largest-ever corporate purchaser of renewable energy.
- We welcomed 30 new companies to The Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040, which was co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism.
Love Leo Rescue | Los Angeles, California
"Here at Love Leo Rescue, we love to spoil our pups as much as possible. Here are a few of our favorites toys and treats from @Amazon, who donated $5,000 to us so we can continue spoiling and take care of our dogs. Check out all of the amazing items you can shop for your pet this year. #Amazon #FoundItOnAmazon #DeliveringSmiles
** please note, these two cuties have been adopted but we do have other amazing dogs available and waiting for forever homes."
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Darrington Food Bank | Darrington, Washington
"Amazon chose to donate to OUR community food bank and we could not feel more blessed. They decided to send us our most needed supplies from our Amazon wishlist (can be found from the Darrington food bank website). There are no words to describe our appreciation 💚"
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Mother to Mother Inc. | Nashville, Tennessee
"Thank you @amazonsmile for sending us a holiday gift of so many essential items off our Amazon Smile wishlist!! All items from our wishlist go directly to the families and children we serve. Use the link below to purchase items off our Amazon Smile Wishlist while you are shopping those Black Friday deals today!! 💚💙
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The Volunteer Center | Torrance, California
"Continuing on our month of gratitude posts- we can't BELIEVE what Amazon.com has done, and we are SO THANKFUL! Amazon selected nonprofit partners (including us!) from their Amazon Smile program, and their drivers have been busy delivering boxes upon boxes of donated items from charity Wish Lists! Nearly every day the Amazon trucks show up with more boxes of donated food for our Food For Kids program! Every week we provide 2,400-weekend meals for local hungry families. After a busy summer delivering more than 50K meals for Covid relief, our shelves have been REALLY bare, and now we can restock them for the upcoming holidays thanks to Amazon's generosity!
Thank you AMAZON!"
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From all of us at Amazon, thank you to those who helped us get through the events of this year. Thank you to the many organizations we partnered with to reach those most in need. Thank you to customers for continuing to trust us to deliver the items you want and need and to keep you safe and entertained at home. Thank you to the small- and medium-sized businesses that pivoted in this unprecedented year to reach new customers at home. And importantly, thank you to our fellow Amazon employees who worked throughout the year to deliver essential supplies, as well as the must-have items to keep the holidays bright.
*This blog post includes forward-looking statements reflective of Amazon’s operations as of December 28, 2020, however, it is not possible to determine the ultimate impact on our operations for the entire holiday season or fourth quarter, or whether other currently unanticipated direct or indirect consequences of the pandemic are reasonably likely to materially affect our operations.