Shipping Carriers Struggle to Keep Up this Holiday Season

Shipping Carriers Struggle to Keep Up this Holiday Season

Who doesn’t like the holiday season? The shopping, decorating, and most importantly shipping all of those gifts you bought half way across the country. As expected, the holiday season is the shipping industry’s busiest and biggest time of the year. According to reports, last year UPS and FedEx both delivered 97% of their packages on-time the week after Thanksgiving. During this same period in 2015, those rates fell to 91% [1] and 95% [3], respectively.

This sound familiar? I know what you’re thinking, “Have I time traveled back to 2013??” Don’t worry, it’s still 2015.

Let’s recap. In 2013, Cyber Monday contributed to a 20.6% increase in online sales, and online Christmas sales were up a whopping 37% compared to 2012 [2]. No one was prepared for this massive jump. Needless to say, there were lots of parents making explanations to little boys and girls as to why Santa’s elves were mailing presents that fell out of the sleigh (My parents used that one a lot).

Back to 2015.You don’t need to be versed in shipping to know 91% on-time isn’t something to be proud of, especially when it’s dropped 6 points from last year. UPS reported that “high impact areas” have exceed the planned peak for this time of year. Online sales climbed to an estimated $4.45 billion during the week of Thanksgiving (thank you Black Friday and Cyber Monday). This is a 14% increase from last year, which is continuing to impact the current delivery times for this holiday season [1].

It appears residential areas have been more affected than commercial, but it is wise to not expect to be exempt. It’s also important to note UPS and FedEx are not the only carriers challenged; others such as DHL and U.S. Postal Service [1].

What to do: Pay closer attention to your shipping analytics for greater opportunity to garner refunds on late deliveries, lost and damaged packages, and other billing errors. This thorough, package-level audit will help you recoup shipping charges in case of goodwill credits for unhappy customers (as in the case of Walmart & Kohl’s back in 2013 [3]) during this busy and joyous season.


[1] UPS Struggles to Keep Up with Surge in Web Orders, The Wall Street Journal via MSN Money, 12/12/2015
[2] Did UPS and FedEx Get Bum Rap for Holiday Delays?, Forbes, 12/31/2013
[3] Holiday Disaster Looms as UPS, FedEx Overloaded After Online Shopping Soars, Business Insider, 12/11/2015
[4] Online Shopping Growth Delays Christmas Deliveries from Amazon and Parcel Services, The Verge, 12/26/2013
[5] Amazon and Walmart Will Offer Store Credit for Late Christmas Deliveries, Deal News, 12/26/2013


Media Contact:
Courtney Elizabeth Cheek
318.798.2111 ext. 1921

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