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, help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers—including more than $2.5 billion in bonus pay to frontline workers. We also donated millions of items this season through product and monetary donations to thousands of charitable organisations 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.”

“This Christmas we are proud to have supported thousands of UK-based small businesses selling on Amazon with our biggest small business promotion yet,” said John Boumphrey, Country Manager, Amazon.co.uk. “Thank you to our customers, who continue to trust us to deliver what they want and need to keep them safe and entertained at home – this year, we hosted the Queen’s Christmas Day Message on Alexa-enabled devices for the first time. Thank you to the thousands of charities that we partnered with around the world to provide hard-hit communities with millions of much-needed items – this year in the UK, we delivered more than two million meals to vulnerable children through our partnership with Magic Breakfast. And finally, thank you to our fellow Amazonians the length and breadth of the UK, who have worked throughout the year to deliver essential supplies, as well as gifts and more, to keep the festive season bright. From all of us at Amazon, we wish you a safe and happy New Year.”

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 Christmas and throughout 2020.

Customers

We delivered billions of items to customers around the world this festive season, added even more ways for customers to receive their items, provided useful tips to make the holidays bright and helped customers to stay connected with loved ones.

Queen Elizabeth II poses for a photo after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message.
This year the Queen’s Christmas Day Message was hosted on Alexa-enabled devices.
Photo by WPA Pool/Getty Images

  • We delivered more than 1.5 billion toys, home products, beauty and personal care products and electronics worldwide this festive season.
  • Some of the best-selling items in the UK included Fire TV Stick 4K, David Walliams’ Code Name Bananas, Hasbro Jenga Classic, Pinch of Nom Recipe Book, Oral-B Pro 2 2500 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush and Asmodee Dobble Card Game.
  • This year also saw us create innovative ways for our devices and Alexa to entertain and assist households across the UK. From Alexa’s increased knowledge of football with VARlexa – the world’s first voice assistant referee, to hosting the Queen’s Christmas Day Message on Alexa-enabled devices, we continue to deliver world firsts and continue to provide voice-first solutions for customers.
  • While customers around the world couldn’t always be together this year, they used Alexa video calling to connect with each other twice as many times this festive season compared to the same period last year.
  • A moment of peace was much needed by many customers globally this holiday season—outside of Christmas music, customers played more than 1.5 times the number of “meditation” music on Alexa-enabled devices compared to the same period last year.
  • Keeping cooking traditions alive, this season customers around the world asked Alexa for recipes and cooking advice tens of millions of times throughout the Christmas period.
  • Kids around the world loved learning with Amazon Kids+ this festive season – they spent tens of millions of hours with educational content.
  • The Amazon Fashion Gift Guide, highlighted the ‘Top 100ish Gift Ideas’ catering to all styles, occasions and budget. Top gifts included fluffy slippers and snuggly PJs for the kids, sparkly accessories and chic and novelty Christmas jumpers for all ages.
Just love shopping at Amazon. As a busy frontline worker without a car it’s wonderful. Thank you so much.
Cath, UK

Cath, UK. “Just love shopping at Amazon. As a busy frontline worker without a car it’s wonderful. Thank you so much.”

Philip, UK. “Just wanted to say this year Amazon.co.uk has been fantastic. Ordered many items due to the restrictions and Amazon have been absolutely spot on. Every delivery on time and item delivered perfect. All delivered socially distanced... Thanks Amazon!!”

Ben, UK. “Absolutely Grade A customer service. The service has been incredible for everything I’ve ordered from Prime recently and from the delivery guys. Thanks again for your engagement, restored my faith in customer service.”

Employees

Amazon is a great place to work with highly competitive pay, benefits from day one, and training programmes for in-demand jobs. We prioritise the health and safety of employees above all else and invested more than $10 billion globally to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers throughout 2020—implementing more than 150 significant process enhancements from improved deep cleaning of our facilities, to processes that allow for effective social distancing, and more.

Wide shot of Amazon fulfilment centre staff stacking a yellow cart with medical supplies in the Coalville Fulfilment centre to provide supplies to the relevant government centres. They are wearing protective gloves and face masks while maintaining a social distance.
Amazon Fulfilment Centre staff stacking medical supplies in Coalville.

  • Amazon invested $2.5 billion in frontline employee bonuses and incentives globally this year, including a recent $500 million special holiday bonus.
  • Amazon offers a starting pay of £9.70/hour and £10.80/hour (depending on location) in the U.K. and excellent benefits from day one.
  • In the UK, so far this year we have provided our associates with 37 million masks, 547,000 litres of sanitiser, 38 million pairs of gloves and 147 million wipes.
  • In the UK, we’re providing testing for all our operations employees, and have built our own lab in Manchester to provide additional testing capacity to what the government is already offering.
  • Amazon offers great opportunities to develop careers. This year alone, we’ve created 10,000 new permanent roles across the UK from engineers, finance, safety and HR professionals, to teams to pick, pack and ship orders to customers taking our total permanent UK workforce to more than 40,000. We’ve also hired more than 20,000 seasonal positions across the UK.
  • We established a global $25 million relief fund for partners, such as delivery drivers and seasonal associates facing financial hardship or quarantine.
I’ve loved my time with the company and the many different training and development opportunities have made it possible for me to progress from a temporary associate to a regional manager.
Craig, Operations Manager, Dunfermline

Craig, Operations Manager, Dunfermline: “Amazon was only intended to be a stop gap for me but I found what I really wanted to do at Amazon and the rest, as they say, is history! I’ve loved my time with the company and the many different training and development opportunities have made it possible for me to progress from a temporary associate to a regional manager.”

Imtiaz, Stores Coordinator, Durham, works alongside his three daughters: “I have enjoyed my time at Amazon so much that I have recommended it to my family and friends to work here. I have been offered various opportunities to advance my career and skills here and the leadership at Amazon are amazing. This makes Amazon the best place to be as you feel like part of a large family.”

Supporting small businesses

At Amazon, we invest in the success of sellers, artisans, authors, delivery providers, software developers and more. We provide small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs with tools and opportunities to succeed, including support with selling their products online, running delivery and logistics companies, using the cloud to launch and scale their businesses, creating voice apps or publishing their own books.

Bethan Thomas, co-founder of HotTea Mama, holding a mug of tea
Bethan Thomas, Founder of HotTea Mama.

  • This holiday season has been the best ever for independent businesses selling on Amazon – most of which are small and medium-sized businesses – with worldwide sales growing over 50% year-over-year compared to the same time period in 2019. In the UK, they sold more than 250 million products on amazon.co.uk during the Christmas season.
  • In 2020 we invested more than $18 billion and launched more than 250 tools and services globally to help these independent businesses grow their sales on Amazon.
  • We expanded our commitment to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by launching the Amazon Small Business Accelerator in the UK and spending more than £75 million on promotional activities to help companies reach customers across Prime Day and into the festive season.
  • We provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits globally to help early stage startups accelerate their growth and development.
  • We designed new ways for small businesses to reach customers with a curated storefront for people to support small, a small business gift finder and dedicated deals page for UK customers.
  • In partnership with the British Chamber of Commerce, we also helped smaller firms operate safely by opening the doors of 10 fulfilment centres across the UK for up to 1,000 businesses and organisations to see the practical reality of working safely and effectively.
For a one-woman business, selling on Amazon has brought me new customers and sales which I would not have been able to achieve on my own.
Beci Tyrrell, Twinkle Cottage, Amazon Handmade Maker

Beci Tyrrell, Twinkle Cottage, Amazon Handmade Maker. “For a one-woman business, selling on Amazon has brought me new customers and sales which I would not have been able to achieve on my own. Amazon’s small business promotional activity will enable me to grow the business for years to come. On top of this, taking part in Amazon's Black Friday Live was so much fun – it gave my business a huge platform to showcase my products and sharing the screen with Stacey Solomon was a dream come true.”

Ellie Webb, founder of non-alcoholic spirit, Caleño. “Amazon has been a huge support for our business in what’s been a challenging and unexpected year. Our 2020 sales have exceeded our predictions which has been pretty amazing. We also launched a new flavour in November, Caleño Dark & Spicy, and having an Amazon listing from the start has been key to its huge success. This time of the year is always important to us, with Christmas and then ‘Dry January’ straight after, two key calendar dates for us, and sales continue to be strong. So it’s a very happy Christmas for the Caleño team!”

Bethan Thomas, co-founder of HotTea Mama. “The Amazon Small Business Accelerator was the perfect opportunity to understand how selling on Amazon works. As I went through it, I tried to put what I learned into practice every day… Since taking part, sales in all of our product lines have been growing constantly, on average by 20%. We have collected hundreds of enthusiastic reviews from customers, something we are very proud of.”

Communities

Amazon helped to support communities in dozens of countries across the globe this holiday season and throughout 2020. We partnered with local organisations to deliver meals to underserved families and vulnerable seniors and provided disaster relief support, emergency aid items, and millions of product and monetary donations to schools to support online learning, alongside providing support to TV, film and music communities.

Rachel Riley writing maths equations and drawing graphs on a whiteboard.
Rachel Riley teaches maths to school children as part of the Very Important Breakfast Clubs partnership with Magic Breakfast.
Photo by Matt Crossick/PA

  • Amazon donated to thousands of charities worldwide this festive season.
  • Amazon partnered with food banks and schools to deliver more than 12 million meals to underserved families and vulnerable seniors in communities in the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore and Spain.
  • Amazon launched free STEM resources to help students learn how to code and improve their maths skills.
  • Amazon is helping writers by contributing to the Society of Authors’ emergency fund. To help independent bookshops, we’re contributing to the Book Trade Charity’s relief fund.
  • Amazon announced plans to provide free technical skills training in cloud computing to 29 million people around the world to help workers stay relevant and transition into new in-demand jobs, including those impacted by COVID-19.
  • Amazon became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy with 26 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects, including a new project in South Lanarkshire in Scotland, which will be the largest single-site wind corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA) project in the UK.
  • Amazon 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.
  • Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios committed $6 million to support the European TV and film production creative community through the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a £1 million donation in the UK to the Film and TV Charity’s COVID-19 Response to kick-start a new grants scheme to help the industry recover and a £500,000 donation to the Theatre Community Fund.
  • This year, Amazon Music has supported the music industry with contributions to Help Musicians, Music Venue Trust and Black Heart Foundation.
  • Amazon Music hosted a star-studded livestreamed fundraiser event featuring Lewis Capaldi, Amazon Music Ones to Watch 2020 artist Celeste, and Cate Le Bon for ‘Prime Day Live’, who each returned to a small scale venue to give a special ‘behind closed doors’ performance in support of the Music Venue Trust. Amazon made individual donations to the four music venues that participated to support their ongoing operating costs.
  • Amazon Music held a festive fundraiser for Help Musicians UK, featuring performances from Jamie Cullum, Jess Glynne and Nina Nesbitt, as well as performances from Amazon Music UK’s Ones to Watch 2021 artists Griff and Girl in Red.
  • We’ve expanded our work to help meet new challenges met by these charities including Amazon UK teams supporting children’s charity Barnardo’s reopen up to 40 local services - helping to buy materials, invest in technology or to create more welcoming and socially distanced spaces for children and families. It’s estimated that up to 40,000 children have already benefited.
  • In the UK, we have supported NHS Charities Together to help provide Christmas gifts for children who cannot leave hospital or are in isolation, plus decorations for wards, festive treats for doctors and nurses, and support for other groups like the elderly and homeless.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has delivered more than two million healthy breakfasts to vulnerable children around the UK, thanks to an expanded partnership with Magic Breakfast.
  • In December, hundreds of children across the UK enjoyed a very special Christmas surprise when their usual teachers were replaced by stars including dance duo Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing; rapper and mental health advocate Professor Green; Countdown’s maths whizz Rachel Riley; TV doc, Dr. Ranj; and TikTok phenomenon and professional freestyle footballer, Lia Lewis, for Amazon.co.uk’s Very Important Breakfast Clubs in partnership with Magic Breakfast.
  • Amazon has donated £180,650,306.59, to hundreds of thousands of charitable organisations globally through AmazonSmile, as of November 2020.
  • More than 30,000 participating AmazonSmile U.K. charities including Cancer Research UK, Alzheimer's Society, The Royal British Legion and Barnado’s have received more than £5.7MM as of November 2020.

“We’ve worked with Amazon for over four years and, in 2020 alone, together we’ve delivered two million breakfasts to vulnerable children which is just astonishing,” said Alex Cunningham, CEO of Magic Breakfast. “After a challenging year, ending with the cancellation of many school celebrations, we hope that our Very Important Breakfast Clubs with Amazon give children a reason to smile, as well as raising funds and awareness for the most vulnerable in our communities. None of this would have been possible without our partnership with Amazon, so thank you to Amazon for their unwavering support and helping us end a difficult year with some Christmas magic."

We’ve worked with Amazon for over four years and, in 2020 alone, together we’ve delivered two million breakfasts to vulnerable children which is just astonishing.
Alex Cunningham, CEO of Magic Breakfast

Eve Mitchell, Head of Partnerships Management at Cancer Research UK. “We’re so grateful to AmazonSmile and all its customers who have chosen to support Cancer Research UK while shopping. This year online shopping has become such an important tool and it’s fantastic that Amazon customers can support us this way. Since launching in November 2017, our partnership with AmazonSmile has raised £629,037, which helps us make a real difference to the lives of people affected by cancer. As COVID-19 has slowed us down, this support is needed now more than ever so we can continue our life-saving research. Thank you so much, AmazonSmile!”

Jon Wingrave, Commercial Trading Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society. “We wish to say a huge thank you to all AmazonSmile shoppers who have chosen to support Alzheimer’s Society with their AmazonSmile purchases throughout a difficult year. The AmazonSmile donations have helped us to continue to support people affected by dementia at this difficult time through services such as our Dementia Connect support line and Companion Calls, where our trained volunteers make regular phone calls to check in with those affected by dementia and have a friendly chat. These calls have made a real difference during these lonely times.”

From all of us at Amazon, thank you to all of those who have helped us get through the events of this year and we wish you a safe and happy New Year.

*This blog post includes forward-looking statements reflective of Amazon’s operations as of 28th December, 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.