E-commerce orders overwhelm UPS and FedEx

Faith Merino · December 26, 2013 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/33fd

Retailers apologize after guaranteed Christmas deliveries don't arrive on time

If you, like me, waited until December 22 to order your last minute Christmas gifts (counting on that good ol’ two-day shipping guarantee to ensure Christmas actually happens), you were likely disappointed to find that some of your items didn’t arrive in time.

UPS and FedEx have been facing fierce backlash from online shoppers after unprecedented volume and icy weather caused delays that meant many wouldn’t be getting their gifts on time—even though delivery was guaranteed by December 24.

You guys, I was a victim. I ordered fake toy eggs and some toy pots and pans for my two-year-old. COME CHRISTMAS MORNING, THERE WERE NO TOY EGGS OR TOY POTS AND PANS. He had to make due with some f*cking puzzles, toy cars, a new tricycle, and educational games and books. CHRISTMAS WAS RUINED. (Note: he did not notice the missing pots and pans and toy eggs.) (Extra note: I also did not notice the missing toys until I checked my email this morning and saw the apology from Amazon.)

Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, and more have been apologizing to customers after orders didn’t make it to their doorsteps in time. Amazon sent out a statement to customers late Tuesday evening and apologized by canceling shipping fees and issuing $20 gift cards to those affected.

Koh’s said on Tuesday that it would pay the full cost of items that weren’t delivered by December 24.

UPS issued a statement explaining that unusually high last-minute orders overwhelmed its system, which was compounded by icy weather across the country and a shorter than usual shopping season. UPS accounts for some 45% of all parcel deliveries in the U.S., and the company expected to deliver more than 132 million packages globally in the week before Christmas. December 16-20 is known as “Peak Week” due to the unusually high volume of shipments. UPS expected to deliver a record 29 million packages on December 17—typically the busiest day of the year for shipments.

In an effort to keep up with the holidays, UPS added 55,000 extra part-time holiday employees, leased 23 extra planes, and essentially added a second whole fleet of trucks.

But alas, the company still couldn’t keep up. Part of that is because UPS decided NOT to be an asshole and force its employees to work on Christmas. Soooo, how about a slow clap for UPS?

Sadly, people are awful. Many customers—irate over the fact that UPS failed to deliver the items they ordered at the last damn minute—have taken to UPS’s Facebook page to rant.

ComScore had forecasted earlier this month that online shopping would hold strong after December 15, and that appears to be the case. In the last weekend before Christmas, online sales increased 37% over the same period last year, according to IBM Digital Analytics. That’s in keeping with record high online sales in the two weeks following Thanksgiving. ComScore noted that the work week of December 9-13 saw the first ever week of five consecutive $1 billion+ weekdays. Total spending from Thanksgiving to December 15 reached $19.2 billion—an increase of 21% over last year. ComScore also noted that weekend online shopping was unusually high this year, surging nearly four-fold over work week sales. Normally, online sales are heavier during weekdays when people are spending more time in front of a computer. Weekends tend to favor brick-and-mortar shopping. 

Forrester previously forecasted online holiday spending to reach $78.7 billion, up 15% over last year. 


Image source: umn.edu

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