Early figures signal that this holiday season is shaping up as among the most challenging for the package-delivery giants, with Cyber Monday sales alone jumping 16.8 percent to $6.6bn, according to Adobe Analytics. The volume overwhelmed UPS in the week following Black Friday, and the Atlanta-based company responded by extending the workweek for some employees and redeploying office workers to help load trucks or deliver packages.
While some customers groused on social media about missed packages, UPS’s on-time rate for items delivered by ground was 99.1 percent in the week ended Dec. 23, according to parcel tracking firm ShipMatrix Inc. FedEx’s rate was 98.7 percent. The rate was in the high 90s for each company for packages shipped by air.
“On a macro level, both carriers did a nice job this year,” said Glenn Gooding, a shipping consultant in the Atlanta area with iDrive Logistics. “You’re going to find very small, isolated affected areas, and those are contingent on a unique issue.”
Both couriers now have entered the holiday season’s returns cycle, which also promises to be busy. UPS on Wednesday projected that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Jan. 3, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers this month, UPS said.
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