Amazon delays shipments of nonessential items in the US by up to a month


At a Fall River, Massachusetts, warehouse in 2018.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

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Amazon on Monday confirmed that it’s significantly delaying US deliveries of nonessential items, as part of its effort to get more medical supplies and household staples to its customers during the coronavirus pandemic. According to product listings on its website, some of these shipments will be delayed by as much as a month.

Last week, Amazon said it started prioritizing shipments of essential items into its warehouses to allow it to stock and ship them faster. Those items include baby formula, medical supplies, household basics and sanitizers. New shipments of all other items were temporarily banned.

A listing for a Barbie toy that shows a delivery time of April 21.


The latest move should help the world’s largest e-commerce company keep its logistics channels less clogged. It’s responding to a huge spike in demand from millions of US residents asked to stay home to prevent the spread of the pathogen.

“To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers,” an Amazon spokesperson said Monday. “This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.”

Recode earlier reported on this latest change.

While US customers will have to wait much longer for shipments of items like toys and musical instruments, the change isn’t as severe as in other countries. Reuters over the weekend reported that Amazon stopped taking any orders for nonessential items in France and Italy, two countries badly hit by the virus.

In the US, Amazon is also responding to the crisis by starting a hiring blitz of 100,000 more US workers and raising its hourly employees’ wages and overtime pay. It also instituted many new measures to keep its warehouse workers and delivery drivers safe, such as increased cleanings and stopping standup meetings of large groups.

Still, some warehouse workers have complained that the company isn’t doing enough and have called for more paid time offer and more protective measures.

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