Amazon delays Prime Day in India and Canada because of Covid-19

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An employee of Amazon India retrieves products from an assorted storage area to fulfil orders placed by customers prior to packaging at Amazon’s fulfilment center on the outskirts of Bangalore on September 18, 2018.

Manjunath Kiran | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon is postponing its annual Prime Day event in India and Canada because of the countries’ worsening wave of Covid-19 cases.

The company confirmed to CNBC that it’s pausing the two-day discount event in both countries, but didn’t offer a rescheduled date in either country.

Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015. The discount celebration is partially designed to secure new Prime members, promote Amazon’s own products and services, and provide a sales boost in the middle of the year.

India has reported a sharp uptick in cases over the past month, with the country accounting for 46% of new Covid cases globally in the past week. The country crossed 20 million reported cases of Covid-19 earlier this week, and media reports suggest crematoriums and burial grounds are overwhelmed with bodies of those who died from Covid-19. As a result, many states in the country have stepped up restrictions in recent weeks, such as lockdowns and curfews.

In April, Canada‘s rate of new Covid-19 infections overtook that of the U.S. for the first time since the pandemic began. Canada has faced lagging vaccination rates compared to the U.S.

Outside of Canada and India, Amazon said Prime Day will continue to move forward in other countries including the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain and China. Amazon announced in its first-quarter earnings results that this year’s Prime Day will take place in June.

Typically, Prime Day takes place in July, but pulling forward the event to June will likely “be better for customers, sellers and vendors” as July is a popular “vacation month” in many areas, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during Amazon’s first-quarter earnings call.

Amazon was forced to put last year’s Prime Day on hold until mid-October due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, amid a surge in cases in the U.S. and many parts of the globe, Amazon also faced a massive spike in online orders as many physical stores were shuttered and consumers opted to stay indoors to avoid the virus.

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