Press release

Thank you to Amazon customers, employees, and selling partners for a record-breaking holiday season

December 28, 2020 at 10:57 AM EST

Amazon’s record-breaking holiday season with our biggest ever customer savings, small business growth, and community giving helped make the holiday season a little bit brighter

Throughout this challenging year, Amazon helped safely deliver much-needed smiles around the globe. The company 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 frontline workers. Amazon 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. “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. 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 Amazonians and our partners were able to deliver smiles to communities, small businesses, employees, and customers like never before this holiday season and throughout 2020.

Communities. Amazon helped support communities in dozens of countries across the globe this holiday season and throughout 2020—partnering with local organizations to provide meals to underserved families and vulnerable seniors, and providing disaster relief support, emergency aid items, and millions of dollars in product and monetary donations to schools and toy drives.

  • Amazon donated to thousands of charities worldwide this holiday season, including over a million dollars in monetary and product donations to charities across Canada, including $60,000 to CP24 CHUM Christmas WISH and $15,000 in gift cards to CTV’s Toy Mountain.
  • As part of Amazon’s longstanding pledge to help end child hunger, in October Amazon Canada announced a new multi-year commitment to Breakfast Club of Canada. In addition to a $500,000 donation for the 2020 holiday season, which provided over 300,000 breakfasts to Canadian youth this year, Amazon Canada announced it will donate more than $250,000 per year to help Breakfast Club of Canada distribute an additional 155,000 breakfasts annually.
  • Amazon also made a $250,000 donation to five Canadian charities addressing hunger and the well-being of underserved children and families impacted by COVID-19, as part of its longstanding commitment to Right Now Needs. Building on this initial commitment, Amazon Canada launched an employee donation match campaign in Canada over October and November, matching 100% of employee donations, up to $10,000 per employee, to True North Aid, Backpack Buddies, Breakfast Club of Canada, Daily Bread Food Bank Toronto and Food Banks of Quebec.
  • With the help of Toronto Maple Leafs Alternate Captain Mitch Marner, singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette, Amazon Canada employees and customers, thousands of gift cards, toys, books, electronics, supplies and more were purchased from wish lists created by Canadian charities across Canada at ca/deliveringsmiles, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Connected North, Inuuqatigiit, Arctic Children and Youth Foundation – Umingmak Centre, and many of the charities already mentioned above.
  • See how Amazon gave back around the world via our virtual map here.

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. Additionally, we expanded our commitment to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, 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 Canada also designed new ways for small businesses to reach customers with a dedicated support small storefront (amazon.ca/supportsmall), 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. 
  • This year, Amazon launched more than 250 tools and services to help sellers manage and grow their businesses.
  • In 2020, Amazon 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’ve 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. In 2020, Amazon has provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits worldwide to help early-stage startups accelerate their growth and development.

Employees. 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 has hired more than 400,000 full- and part-time employees worldwide in 2020, and we continue to hire. To continue delivering for our customers throughout the holiday season, we’ve also hired more than 100,000 additional seasonal employees in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Amazon Delivery Service Partners have hired 75,000 new drivers since February to help ensure we could deliver for our customers.
  • Amazon invested $2.5 billion in front-line employee bonuses and incentives this year, including a recent $500 million special holiday bonus.
  • Our employees embrace customer obsession and passion for invention, and they see Amazon as a great place to develop their careers. This year alone, more than 30,000 people have 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.
  • Amazon has step-changed its operations to keep its associates safe and purchased items like masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitizing wipes, gloves, additional handwashing stations, and adding disinfectant spraying in buildings, barriers and more. Some of the precise numbers so far include 5 million masks, 43 million disinfectant wipes, almost 1.5 million ounces of disinfectant spray, 5 million ounces of hand sanitizer, and 4.5 million gloves.

Customers. Amazon 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.

  • More than 1.5 billion toys, home products, beauty and personal care products, and electronics were delivered worldwide this
  • 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, Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer, and Neutrogena Cleansing Face Wipes.
  • 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.
  • A moment of peace was much needed by many customers 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.
  • 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 to 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 favourites 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.

From all of us at Amazon, thank you to those who have helped us get through the events of this year. Thank you to the many organizations that 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 who pivoted in this unprecedented year to reach new customers stuck at home. And importantly, thank you to our fellow Amazonians who worked throughout the year to deliver essential supplies, as well as the must-have items that keep the holidays bright.

*This blog post includes forward-looking statements reflective of Amazon’s operations as of December 27, 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.