SALT LAKE CITY – Holiday shopping will look a little different this year, with COVID-19 causing many of the traditional store crowds to stay home and shop online.
Retailers anticipating this shift have already started rolling out Black Friday deals more than a week before Black Friday.
All this is good news for delivery services like the United States Postal Service. "Engage early in the shipping of gifts," said Floyd Wagoner, spokesman for USPS' WestPac area.
Wagoner said COVID-19 has hindered their ability to get a good prediction on just how much more online shopping will mean online shipping.
"We do anticipate an increase, of course," he said. "It's just hard to put an exact number on them."
Wagoner said the busiest time for holiday shipping happens two weeks before Christmas. Shipping is expected to increase starting Dec. 7.
Some good news for those restricting their trips to stores — Wagoner said many USPS services can be accessed from the comfort of home.
"You can go online and manage all of your labels and shipping, the boxes, the paying for postage, the tracking," he said.
FedEx prepares after 2019 troubles
Even without a pandemic last year, shipping giant FedEx saw delays that ultimately led to Amazon ceasing use of its services in the weeks before Christmas.
In a statement, a FedEx spokesperson told KSL,
"We have been preparing for what we're calling the 'Shipathon.' We've taken a number of proactive steps including expanding FedEx Ground's seven-day a week residential delivery, investments in automated facilities, and grown our FedEx Freight Direct service and our retail convenience network. These strategic investments, plus hiring 70,000 new team members, will help better support what is expected to be an unprecedented holiday shipping season. We've also been working proactively with our customers regarding capacity levels. These adjustments will increase our network flexibility and optimize capacity to help ensure we deliver the best possible service for our customers this holiday season."
You can access FedEx deadlines and shipping information here.
UPS hiring 100,000 workers for holiday rush
UPS's spokesperson also said in a statement that they are prepared for the holiday rush,
"We are working closely with our large and medium customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers. At the same time, we focus on maintaining the reliability of the UPS network for all of our customers, including small- and medium-sized businesses. Strategies for working with our largest customers during this time include helping shift package volume away from the heaviest demand shipping days, to fully utilizing weekend capacity, and aligning promotional strategies with capacity.
UPS hired 39,000 permanent new employees in the second quarter of 2020, all of whom are working inside our sortation facilities and as drivers. We also are hiring more than 100,000 seasonal employees for the holidays. Our multi-year investments in additional air and ground capacity and technology, decades of experience flexing our network, and dedicated employee-drivers combine to make UPS well-equipped to handle the challenges of the pandemic and the holiday peak season."
For information on UPS's delivery schedule, including shipping deadlines, click here.