The coronavirus may end up delaying Amazon Prime Day, which is normally held in July.
The e-commerce giant is postponing the annual online shopping event at least until August, according to Reuters, citing an internal company memo.
Amazon declined to comment on Reuters’ reporting. But it’s clear the company already has its hands full with a flood of online shopping orders from millions of Americans who are now staying at home to protect themselves from COVID-19. Amazon has been prioritizing orders for essential goods such as groceries, cleaning items and medical supplies. However, shipping times for purchases have slipped to five days or longer, even for Amazon Prime members.
When the pandemic will end remains unclear. But holding Amazon Prime Day during the crisis would’ve likely created a logistical nightmare, given that the company’s delivery network is already overstretched. Last year’s Prime Day broke a record, selling over 175 million items to Prime subscribers worldwide.
According to Reuters, Amazon had been stockpiling items in preparation for the annual shopping event. But now the company estimates it may take a $100 million to $300 million financial hit due to the surplus, which includes Amazon’s Echo smart speakers.
To reduce the logistical strain, Amazon is trying to hire an additional 100,000 employees at its facilities. However, some warehouses have been reporting cases of existing workers coming down with the coronavirus. The risk of infection, along with protests from workers, has prompted Amazon to distribute masks and begin temperature checks of all warehouse employees before they enter the premises.