Amazon is suspending deliveries of non-essential goods to its warehouses in the UK and US to free up space for crucial household and medical supplies
There are currently believed to be over 4,660 coronavirus cases in the US and more than 1,900 in the UK – but experts say the true figure could be many times more.
In a note to sellers, Amazon said it was seeing increased demand and that household essentials and medical supplies were being depleted.
It said it was being forced to prioritise particular categories of goods in order to “quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers”.
The essential categories include baby products, health and household, beauty and personal care, grocery, industrial and scientific, and pet supplies.
The measures will be in place until 5 April.
It does not mean it will stop selling other items, but that some products are more likely to run out of stock in the next few weeks and third-party sellers may have to directly send the items themselves.
Third-party sellers, which account for more than half of the goods for sale on Amazon, are able to stockpile goods in the company’s warehouses and take part in Amazon’s own delivery systems.
It enables them to deliver goods more quickly without having to store the stock themselves.
Now any of these sellers whose products are outside of the essential categories will be unable to restock with Amazon, although they could use other methods to deliver their products.
The company said the new system would apply to first-party as well as third-party sellers, suggesting it is not protecting its own products.
“We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize
these products for customers,” Amazon said in a statement.