The holidays are always a busy season for delivery networks in the US, but this year stretched them to the limit.
The pandemic drove a surge in online shopping as more gift buyers turned to e-commerce, adding to the already elevated level of online sales from countless shoppers avoiding stores and close proximity to others. The torrent of packages overwhelmed parcel services and led to numerous late deliveries.
Any remaining delays, however, are not likely to be extensive, according to Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, a software company that helps retailers and other customers track deliveries and collects data on millions of shipments. By Monday, Jan. 4, “I would say 99.5% of all packages shipped by Christmas—no matter by ground or express—will have been delivered,” he says.
ShipMatrix estimates just over 3 billion packages were shipped between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year in the US, or about about 800 million more than last year. It’s a huge number of items to process. Retailers warned shoppers to order early if they wanted to receive gifts by Christmas, and UPS even put restrictions on parcels from large retailers such as Nike and Gap as it tried to keep up.