The holiday shipping fiasco in 2013 became a major issue when many packages didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. Retailers and shipping companies seem to be determined to prevent any more delivery disasters this year, but this is easier said than done. It’s expected that many Americans will do more of their shopping online.
According to a report released by Forrester Research, online spending this 2014 will jump up to $10 billion, which is a 13% increase compared to the previous year. The National Retail Federation also noted that about 3.4 million new shoppers would drive online spending. They said that because of the growing number of smartphone and tablet users, it’s becoming easier to order anything on the Internet. All they need is to open a browser or mobile app, then click and buy.
A Few Days Left Before Christmas
As Christmas Eve approaches, the shipping delivery elves of Santa – FedEx (FDX) and the US Postal Service – are working overtime and hiring more people.
The US Postal Service is expecting to process more than 640 million pieces of mail by Monday, which is the peak shipping day and nearest Monday to Christmas Eve. The numbers will likely increase by 33 million, which is double than their normal daily load, compared to the previous year.
Between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve alone, they expect to deliver about 12.7 billion cards, packages, and letters. The shipping orders don’t end on December 25, though. An additional 3 billion might also arrive between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. As a strategy, they’re planning to prepare mobile delivery villages and hiring 95,000 temporary workers.
FedEx (FDX) expects to deliver about 290 million packages between Black Friday and Christmas, which is 9% higher than in 2013. This includes the 22.6 million shipments they handle every Monday since the Christmas season started. To avoid weather-related delays, the shipping company even formed a global operations control center team of 15 full-time meteorologists. This has yet to include the additional 50,000 seasonal workers they’re currently hiring.
Will Another Shipping Fiasco Happen?
Many experts say that the significant increase in online shopping demand this season is another challenge to the already-stressed shipping systems in the US. Amazon, along with UPS, was not able to fulfill their promise in 2013. They apologized for the delay, offering $20 gift cards to customers whose packages didn’t arrive on time. This year, however, shipping companies aren’t taking any chances.