Amazon took the very unusual step of delaying shipments for non-essential items last week, but we live in unusual times as coronavirus sweeps the globe. It makes sense, though. You want people to be able to get food, clothing, health supplies, and other essentials. However, Amazon's technology products appear to be essential, too. Devices like the Fire TV, Echo speakers, and Ring Doorbell are all shipping immediately while competing products are more often than not delayed until late April.

Getting products to your door in a day or two requires a great deal of logistical prowess, and Amazon began suspending non-essential shipments to its warehouses earlier this month. The subsequent delay in shipments to users is probably a result of that. We're not ruling out that Amazon has simply stockpiled its products in key locations to facilitate quick deliveries, but other companies didn't have the opportunity to do that—in category after category, Amazon's products ship in a few days while top competitors won't be out the door for a month. For example, All of Amazon's Fire TVs arrive in a couple of days, but most Roku boxes won't ship for weeks. Smart speakers like the Echo Dot and 3rd Gen Echo? On your doorstep day after tomorrow. Meanwhile, many of the other smart speakers on Amazon are delayed.

This trend also extends to the various brands Amazon has gobbled up over the years. If you want a video doorbell, Amazon will ship the Ring to you right away. Top competing options from Arlo and Eufy are "non-essential." Similarly, other Ring cameras and the budget cameras from Amazon-owned Blink ship now. Nest and Wyze? Delayed. Amazon's Eero mesh WiFi system ships now, but numerous popular routers from Netgear, TP-Link, and Linksys are pushed back to late April.

There are a few product categories that Amazon seems to have deemed essential where there is no disparity. For example, most tablets ship immediately because people need them for work and school. Most speakers and earbuds, including Amazon's options, ship without delay. Still, there are so many places where Amazon has a suspicious advantage over the competition during this time of "essential" shipping. Not a single Amazon product is non-essential? I doubt that very much. But hey, if you want some Amazon stuff, I guess this works out nicely.