Amazon has announced that it is closing AmazonSmile, and will wind it down by 20 February this year, saying that the programme has not grown to create the impact it hoped for.
Instead, Amazon says it will ‘pursue and invest in other areas where it can make meaningful change— from providing support to families in need, to using our logistics infrastructure and technology to assist communities impacted by natural disasters.’
AmazonSmile launched 10 years ago and lets customers choose a charity through small donations generated by their purchases.
According to Amazon’s statement breaking the news, AmazonSmile represents a very small portion of the total charitable contributions made through its other programmes, which it estimates at more than £100 million in 2021.
Amazon will be providing an additional one-time donation to participating charities equivalent to six months of what they earned through the programme in 2022, and they will also be able to accrue additional donations until the programme officially closes in February. Once AmazonSmile closes, it says, charities will still be able to seek support from Amazon customers by creating their own wish lists.
The statement lists some of the other ways Amazon will continue helping nonprofits, including increasing its support for a charity coalition led by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that has donated essential products to more than 50,000 families in need; a new partnership with Comic Relief; product donation programmes; and the launch of a new Amazon for Charity store which allows charities to raise money by selling products on Amazon and collecting 100% of profits. Nonprofits currently featured include Macmillan Cancer Support, Royal British Legion, the Natural History Museum, and Marie Curie.
The announcement has been largely met by disappointment on social media with some shoppers saying AmazonSmile was the reason they used Amazon and would now look elsewhere, and charities and their representatives voicing disappointment that they would lose this income, particularly during the current cost of living crisis. Others have pointed to the relatively small amount of money it has raised for good causes.