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Coronavirus Scuttles Amazon Prime Day

Adriana Lee

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The coronavirus may have flooded Amazon’s e-commerce channels, with pandemic shoppers stampeding the web. But it’s also put a crimp on the company’s Prime Day plans.

On Tuesday, the company said it’s delaying the annual sales extravaganza, shifting from the typical July time frame to an undisclosed date later this year. The change applies worldwide except for India, where Prime Day will be held next month.

“This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual, while ensuring the safety of our employees and supporting our customers and selling partners,” the company said in a statement. “We are excited Prime members in India will see savings on Aug. 6 and 7, and that members all around the world will experience Prime Day later this year. We look forward to sharing more details soon.”

For the company, dealing with the health crisis has been a roller coaster ride. While the pandemic has amped up its business — in the first quarter of 2020, the virus fueled a 26 percent jump in revenue — it has also taxed the massive organization’s vast logistic and delivery network, and triggered safety concerns among warehouse workers. Amazon will report second-quarter earnings next week.

Over the five years since its inception, Prime Day has grown from one day to two, and now amounts to Amazon’s biggest shopping event of the year. By the company’s count, it sold more during last year’s event than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

The company doesn’t disclose sales figures, but Amazon touted that it moved 175 million products during Prime Day 2019. Analysts estimate that during that 48-hour period, the company pulled in at least $7.16 billion — a 71 percent jump over the $4.19 billion from 2018, when the event took place over 36 hours.

After Amazon postponed Prime Day on Tuesday, the stock shaved off 1.83 percent to land around $3,138, after the morning’s low of roughly $3,110.

The movement may not rattle Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos much. The ceo and founder just added $13 billion to his net worth on Monday, according to figures from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, in the largest one-day individual jump since the index was created in 2012. His coffers ballooned $74 billion to $189.3 billion as of Monday, with his personal net worth topping companies like Nike, McDonald’s, Costco, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobile Corp. and Oracle.

Bezos’ growing affluence looks particularly noteworthy during a year that has destroyed various retailers. And apparently the effect has also extended to his ex-wife, Mackenzie Bezos, whose wealth grew $4.6 billion for a total of $63.1 billion, making her the 13th richest person in the world. Jeff Bezos, of course, tops the list.

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