The revolutionary impact of the Internet on retail sales is underscored by the volume of holiday shipments U.S. couriers FedEx and UPS plan to deliver.
FedEx recently announced that it anticipates its busiest day in history on Dec. 10, when it moves a projected 19 million shipments through its express, ground and freight networks.
The estimated volume represents a 10 percent increase from its busiest day last year and is driven by consumers purchasing gifts online.
UPS said its busiest day will be Dec. 20, when an estimated 28 million packages will be delivered around the world. On an average day, UPS delivers 15.8 million packages.
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The Atlanta-based carrier expects to deliver 527 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, surpassing last year’s record of 480 million packages. Its peak air day is projected to top 6.5 million deliveries compared to normal daily air volume of 3 million packages. UPS will operate more than 400 additional flight segments per day during the holiday period to ensure gifts are delivered on time.
The availability of online and mobile shopping will cause many people to delay purchases until the final two weeks before Christmas, the package delivery firm said. Online tracking requests are expected to reach 69 million as Christmas nears.
Online holiday sales (excluding travel) are expected to grow 16.8 percent year-over-year to as much as $54.5 billion, according to eMarketer. Almost $1 out of every $10 of consumer discretionary spending is now online, according to comScore and the Department of Commerce.
eBay recently announced sellers will soon be able to print FedEx labels through the eBay label printing system and get volume discounts of up to 37 percent. eBay already lets sellers print labels for packages sent through UPS or the U.S. Postal Service.