Shipping companies always hire seasonal employees to help with increased deliveries during the holiday season but this year both FedEx and UPS are expecting considerable growth from last season, 8.8 and 11 percent, respectively. Meanwhile the U.S. Postal Service is anticipating a 12 to 14 percent increase in holiday season deliveries. The continued increase in shipments and expectations for this holiday season are directly fueled by growth in online shopping and the couriers have noted multiple days expected to have especially high volumes, which merchants should make note of as well.
FedEx is hiring 50,000 or more seasonal workers to keep up with shipping demands this holiday season as they expect a record 290 million package shipments between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. This marks an 8.8 percent increase in holiday season package shipments from 2013.
UPS is hiring between 90,000 and 95,000 seasonal workers as it prepares for an estimated 585 million package shipments in December, an 11 percent increase from last year.
The United States Postal Service is ready to deliver 475 million shipments during the holiday season, a 12 to 14 percent increase from 2013. Total package deliveries are expected to reach 4 billion for the USPS this year, representing annual growth of 8 percent. This figure includes the 470 million packages UPS and FedEx pay the Postal Service to deliver to residences. While total shipments have increased for the USPS in 2014, the growth in holiday season shipments is 33 percent larger.
While volume is higher across the whole holiday season, for both merchants and couriers, the shipping companies have highlighted a handful of peak volume days that merchants should note as well. Last holiday season UPS set a company record of more 31 million packages delivered in one day and expects this daily record to be exceeded on 6 different occasions during the 2014 holiday sales season. This year UPS expects their peak shipping day to be Monday, December 22nd when they are anticipating 34 million packages.
FedEx expects Mondays to be busy shipping days as well. The company expects to ship more than 20 million packages on each of the first two Mondays of December (the 1st and the 8th) with deliveries peaking on December 15th, the third Monday of the month, at 22.6 million.
With the first four Mondays of December listed as peak volume days by the major private couriers, merchants should anticipate higher volume and more strain on fulfillment in the one to five days leading up to each Monday. While many online Black Friday deals will lead to shipments delivered on Monday, December 1st, merchants will need to be dually prepared to deal with both completing fulfillment and handling the increased transaction and fraud volumes, as December 1st also marks Cyber Monday.
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