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Parcel carriers post strong early holiday delivery performance, consultancy says

FedEx, UPS, Postal Service improved on-time rate over last year, Ship Matrix finds

Parcel carriers start off peak season on right foot (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

The major parcel-delivery carriers reported high on-time performance rates through November, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday when holiday shopping spikes, consultancy ShipMatrix said Thursday.

In its survey, ShipMatrix said the three major carriers — FedEx Corp., (NYSE: FDX), UPS Inc. (NYSE: UPS) and the U.S. Postal Service — performed better this early holiday period than in 2021, when online demand was higher, capacity was tighter and FedEx’s ground delivery unit, FedEx Ground, struggled with labor shortages at its hubs. FedEx Ground said it has resolved the labor issues that plagued its operations in 2021.

From Nov. 24 through Nov. 30, the periods that encompassed the two big shopping days, UPS delivered 96.6% of parcels on time. That was followed by the Postal Service at 95.8% and FedEx at 95.3%. During the same period in 2021, UPS delivered 96.1% of parcels on time, the Postal Service 95.5% and FedEx 83.9%.

Average daily parcel volumes reached 90 million between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday and hit 100 million on Cyber Monday itself, ShipMatrix said. The consultancy predicted that daily volumes during the peak period will average about 92 million parcels, while capacity could exceed 110 million parcels. Peak-season delivery volumes were expected to drop dramatically over the past two years as consumers increase their buying in stores and rising inflation constrains their gift-giving budgets, ShipMatrix said.

The early numbers indicate that FedEx Ground has bulked up its labor force this holiday period, and that it has also surmounted concerns that some of its 6,000 contractors who drive on the company’s behalf, and who have struggled with rising costs,might not make it through the year without financial help from the unit.

From Nov. 1 through Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, the three carriers delivered 85 million parcels per day, according to the data. UPS’ on-time delivery rate was 97%, FedEx’s was 96.3% and the Postal Service’s was 96.2%, ShipMatrix said. This year’s peak cycle actually began in mid-October with Amazon.com. Inc’s two-day fall Prime Day initiative.


According to the data, orders shipped on Thursdays have a 98% on-time delivery rate, while orders shipped on Mondays have a 92% on-time rate. In addition, parcels shipped coast to coast have a 4% lower on-time delivery rate than parcels shipped shorter distances. 

One Comment

  1. Jason Levine

    My experience, presently, with FedEx has NOT been anywhere close to satisfactory. With absolutely horrible customer service, and poorly trained reps running it… I would have rather my delivery been a pack mule.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.