Amazon Prime Day Delayed

Prime Day, “Amazon’s biggest, global shopping event exclusively for Prime members” has been postponed.

Amazon has yet to announce a new date, although CNBC reported that the company told third-party sellers to use Oct. 5 as a placeholder date.

“Over the last five years, Prime Day has become a special celebration and time for Prime members to shop incredible deals for themselves and for friends and family–and it’s something we look forward to every year,” an Amazon representative told Forbes in an e-mailed statement. “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.”

Rumors of a delay have circulated for some time. Reuters obtained internal meeting notes in April in which Amazon higher-ups planned to postpone Prime Day until at least August.

While many of the socioeconomic changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic have benefited Amazon and other online retailers (just check Amazon’s stock price), there are drawbacks.

The increase in demand as consumers move to ecommerce has strained Amazon’s ability to make speedy deliveries. According to Bloomberg, COVID-19 “created a month’s worth of Black Friday spending without warning,” and it took Amazon “several weeks and hiring 175,000 people to get back on track.”

Despite the setbacks, Amazon’s revenue increased by 26 percent during the first three months of the year. However, its net income declined 30.5 percent, due to increased wages, and safety and delivery costs.

The company continues to innovate, looking to cut costs and increase safety. Recently Amazon announced testing for a smart shopping cart that automatically tracks your purchases, minimizing contact with employees.

There are some concerns that postponing Prime Day will backfire on the company. A spike in coronavirus case numbers in the fall combined with a decline in disposable income could cause  the annual sale day to post underwhelming profits.

Some speculate that Amazon is testing the waters in India, which normally holds Prime Day at the same time as the U.S. India’s Prime Day is set to take place for 48 hours starting midnight August 6th, despite the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in the country.  Marketing for the sale has been similar to years past.

Amazon also lost some customers as wait times increased and items went out of stock. The number of negative reviews on the site increased from 21,000 to slightly over 100,000 in April and May compared to the same time last year.

Criticism has also come from workers, as some believe the measures Amazon implemented to protect them were inadequate and several employees complained of being overworked.

Nevertheless, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth continues to climb. He was the first person to surpass $100 billion in modern times, and sits at $189.3 billion as of July 21, making him the wealthiest man in the world.

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