The holiday shopping season has begun and the shipping industry is bracing for its busiest time of the year. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest projections call for a 3.6 to 4 percent increase in holiday sales for 2017 over last year. That makes for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion in 2016. In fact, most estimates see e-commerce shopping increasing by as much as 20 percent this year! With so much shopping to be done, retailers and shippers are bracing for the rush, according to Logistics Viewpoints.
As far as shipping goes, there are important shipping dates you should know. Mail headed to military and diplomatic overseas addresses have the first shipping deadline, which is one month away. While Tuesday, December 19 is the deadline to mail a first class greeting card, holiday procrastinators can push that to the next day by using Priority Mail. USPS is urging customers to add tracking to your mail so you can follow its path from your hands to the recipient’s mailbox, according to Patch. Look to this handy USPS chart for USPS international shipments and APO/FPO/DPO addresses for all relevant holiday shipping deadlines.
The holiday season always means a huge spike in business for shippers. For example, UPS handles 19 million packages a day, during the peak holiday season, that number jumps to more than 30 million packages a day. UPS has already announced plans to hire around 95,000 seasonal employees to help manage the demand, FedEx will hire around 50,000.
It’s important to remember that weather plays a role in holiday shipping as weather delays are always possible around this time of year. FedEx and UPS traditionally do not guarantee ground service delivery dates as we get closer to the final days, according to eSeller Cafe.
This holiday season is putting a heavy emphasis on e-commerce fulfillment, as more and more consumers drift away from malls, and towards their devices for shopping.
Happy shipping everyone!