Anne Carrihill, category leader of toys and games at Amazon, discusses bestsellers and the company’s consumer and charitable initiatives in 2020.
The Toy Book: Games, puzzles, activities, and active toys were the top categories of 2020. Were there any surprise sellers for Amazon last year?
Anne Carrihill: We delivered more than 1.5 billion toys, home products, beauty and personal care products, and electronics worldwide this holiday with ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game, Lite-Brite Ultimate Classic Retro Toy, and Jenga Classic Game as some of the top-selling toys, further driving the notion that families are craving screen-free together time and bonding over family-friendly game nights. In 2020, customers shopped characters from Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Princess, Bluey, PJ Masks, Blue’s Clues & You!, and toys from LEGO, L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Hot Wheels, NERF, Play-Doh, Melissa & Doug, Ravensburger, and Osmo.
Our annual Holiday Toy List made it easy to discover and shop toys and gifts. The Holiday Toy List featured more than 1,900 products, including 200 toys exclusive to Amazon and from brands of all sizes. In addition, our ‘Joy Delivered’ lookbook sparked holiday inspiration among families with seasonal activities, recipes for fun, and gifts for kids of all ages.
Throughout 2020, Amazon helped safely deliver much-needed smiles around the globe. We invested more than $18 billion to help small- and medium-sized businesses continue to grow their sales on Amazon and help them connect with customers beginning with Prime Day and continuing through the holiday season. This Prime Day and holiday, customers could connect with local small businesses and shop for unique items, including toys and games, on Amazon’s Small Business Gift Guide and explore gifts from Black-owned businesses in Oprah’s Favorite Things on Amazon. We’re excited to share that this holiday season was the best ever for independent businesses selling on Amazon — nearly all of which are small- and medium-sized businesses — with worldwide sales growing over 50% compared to the same time period in 2019.
We prioritize the safety and health of employees above all else, and we invested more than $10 billion to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers throughout the challenging year. We also donated millions of items this holiday through product and monetary donations to thousands of charitable organizations worldwide. For the third year in a row, we provided customers an easy way to donate to a child in need this holiday, by saying “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots.” Alexa would then offer a reasonably priced item from the Toys for Tots wish list. After customers confirmed the order, Amazon shipped directly to Toys for Tots and we matched all toy donations with a toy-for-toy match. All year long, customers can shop with purpose through AmazonSmile, which provides a convenient way to support local, national, and international charities while shopping on Amazon, at no additional cost. Customers can also support their favorite charities by donating selected items directly to those charities with AmazonSmile Charity Lists.
This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!