COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives in 2020.
It has affected how we work, how we celebrate events with family and friends, and the way we shop. For many of us, we have to do these activities virtually. This holiday season is no different and, the holiday shopping season has started earlier this year to get ahead of the inevitable delays in shipping due to increased volume.
Ecommerce vs. In-Store Shopping
The Coronavirus accelerated the growth of e-commerce shopping earlier this year, and those who are comfortable and experienced with online shopping are likely to continue this pattern in the future. Many people are concerned about their health and avoiding shopping in stores this holiday season. Projections show that online sales will grow by 15%, $893.9 billion over 2019. For shoppers who don’t want to shop online, most stores now have curbside/no contact pickup so that social distancing can still be practiced.
Increased Shipping Volumes
The impact that COVID-19 will have on shipping volume this holiday season will be significant. FedEx’s CMO said they’re seeing Black Friday/Cyber Monday levels of delivery needs almost every day since March. With the holiday season approaching, it is only predicted to get worse, with a projected 700 million packages to ship this year. It is expected that peak shipping volumes will continue in January 2021. According to reports, UPS and FedEx have begun telling shippers that they have already reached full capacity, which could create a massive capacity shortfall, impacting up to 7 million packages per day. This season it will be essential to shop early to ensure you will get your packages on time.
Last-mile delivery will also suffer this season. Predictions show packages shipped by traditional delivery providers will exceed capacity by 5% worldwide from the end of November through Christmas. This will directly impact retail sales because deliveries that are received late after the holidays typically have the highest return rates. Inevitably, the number of returns will be higher than last year.
New Fees and Surcharges
With the increase in shipping comes an increase in shipping fees and surcharges. UPS has announced that they will be increasing shipment costs by $3 to $4. The increase will run from Mid- November through Mid- January on customers and businesses who ship 25,000 packages or more a week. FedEx will also have a surcharge that will affect larger customers. Ranging from $1 to $5 dollars per package. USPS will increase from $0.24 to $1.50 and will run from October through the end of December.
COVID continues to bring change to our lives, but there are new opportunities for additional income this holiday season. In response to the major upswing in eCommerce deliveries this year, and to prepare for the holiday season, most big carriers will be hiring additional employees. Amazon stated they would be hiring 100,000 workers to help this season, in addition to opening 100 buildings across its logistics network. UPS will also be hiring around 100,000 seasonal workers this holiday season to keep up with the growing number of shipments. FedEx is expanding their eCommerce capabilities this year and increasing its seasonal workforce by 27% over 2019. USPS will be no exception, hiring up to 40,000 seasonal employees for positions such as mail handlers, holiday clerk assistants, and mail processing clerks. Carriers have also stated that because of the change in the shopping landscape, many jobs will be kept after the holiday.
This holiday season will be unlike any other. Remember to shop early in order to avoid delays and out of stocks on the gifts you are planning to purchase! Continue to practice social distancing and shop online or use curbside/contactless pickup at your favorite stores.