2020 was one of the most successful years for sellers in Amazon’s store, even with the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. From April 15, 2020 to January 15, 2021, independent third-party sellers – almost all small and medium-sized businesses – increased their Amazon sales by more than 55% year-over-year. And we are working hard and investing heavily to help you continue this success.
In 2020, we increased square footage across our fulfillment and logistics network by 50%, opening dozens of new delivery stations and fulfillment centers around the world. We built more than 250 tools and services to help you manage and grow your business, such as the Growth Opportunities page to help you drive new sales, FBA Liquidations to help you recover value from inventory and improve sustainability, and improved Seller University courses to guide you on how to use all of these new tools and services effectively. We also recognized the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic created for small businesses, and in December, we made the decision to postpone our annual fee adjustments until the spring of 2021 to provide stability and support through what we expected would be a challenging winter. While many other companies passed along costs through surcharges and fee changes in 2020, we absorbed over $5 billion in COVID-related costs on your behalf, and are absorbing billions more in the first half of 2021.
Now, as vaccines are being distributed and we see a path to normalcy, our next fee adjustment in the US has been scheduled for June 1, 2021. Most referral fees will not change, and we are making only modest increases (about 2-3% on average) to fulfillment fees, in line with or below industry averages. We will also reduce certain fees, like the returns processing fee, which reflects feedback we have received from sellers and our continued efforts to reduce costs.
Please review the fee change highlights below and links to the more detailed fee pages in Seller Central. These changes will take effect June 1, 2021, except where otherwise noted.