The Postal Service expects holiday customer traffic to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the season’s busiest period for mailing, shipping and deliveries occurring Dec. 14-21.
The organization released the expectations last week, noting that more gifts are expected to be sent through the mail this year as families and friends hold virtual ceremonies instead of opening presents in person. However, while significant volume increases are expected, precise predictions are difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Generally, online shopping sales in November and December are expected to reach $189 billion, up 33 percent compared with one year ago, according to Adobe Analytics.
“The holiday shopping season is starting earlier than ever this year, and we expect record online sales as many consumers opt to shop online to avoid stores because of the unknowns around COVID-19,” said John Copeland, the company’s marketing and customer insights vice president.
To help handle shipping increases, USPS is hiring seasonal workers where needed, and technology has been expanded to improve package tracking throughout the postal processing and transportation networks.
Additionally, beginning Nov. 29, the organization will expand Sunday deliveries to locations with high volumes. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.
To further assist with timely processing and deliveries, the Postal Service is encouraging customers to send their holiday cards and gifts early.
“We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays,” the Postal Service’s statement read.
The Nov. 19 news release, available on the USPS Newsroom website, also includes recommended shipping deadlines.