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Postal workers nationwide can attest to the surge in online shopping this year, fueled by a global pandemic and orders to stay at home during prime browsing months.
Amazon unsurprisingly led the e-commerce charge, boasting a record-breaking 2020 holiday season—”with our biggest-ever customer savings, small business growth, and community giving,” according to a blog post.
The world’s largest online marketplace dispatched more than 1.5 billion packages across the globe—everything from air fryers and matching pajama sets to smart light bulbs and family games. A fitting end to an unconventional holiday, Amazon claims its final Christmas Eve delivery was a copy of Glenys Nellist’s book ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas.
With social distancing and other COVID restrictions in place, folks found a friend in Alexa, turning to the virtual assistant to place video calls, turn on the festive lights, offer cooking advice, provide gift suggestions, and play “meditation” music.
“Amazonians around the world have truly shown what it means to be customer-centric and support our communities this year,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, said in a statement. “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.”
In April, the firm announced a $4 billion plan to buy personal protective equipment, pay for cleanings of company facilities, raise wages for workers, and fund an in-house COVID-19 testing process to screen employees for the virus.
Still, as of mid-September, nearly 20,000 US Amazon frontline workers (those in company warehouses and Whole Foods Market stores) have caught the virus—representing 1.4 percent of the firm’s total 1.37 million employees. That prompted protests from Amazon workers who said the company failed to do enough to protect them from novel coronavirus.
Amazon said it would pay more than $500 million in one-time “thank you” bonuses to workers most exposed to the pandemic. “We couldn’t be prouder of, or more thankful for, our teams around the world,” added Wilke, who is set to retire early next year.
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