Shipping Industry Expects Strong Holiday Sales Despite Shorter Shopping Period
The upcoming holiday season will be the shortest in over a decade, with just 26 shopping days squeezed between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's six fewer days than last year.
But in spite of a compressed shopping season, there are signs the retail sector is looking forward to a happy ending to 2013. UPS (NYSE: UPS) says it expects to pick up more than 34 million packages worldwide on its peak day of the year, December 16 – with daily shipping volume projected to rise by eight percent during the overall holiday season.
One big factor, according to UPS officials, is a rising customer use of online sales. "We have seen year-over-year how e-commerce and the growing trend of mobile commerce continues to shape how consumers shop," Alan Gershenhorn, UPS chief sales and marketing officer, said in a press statement. "Our suite of solutions is uniquely positioned to help our e-commerce customers meet the changing consumer demands."
UPS expects five of its delivery days during this holiday season to surpass peak day figures from 2012. It also plans to hire 55,000 seasonal employees across the U.S., to handle the seasonal increase in volume.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) is also hoping for its busiest day in company history this upcoming Cyber Monday: December 2, the first Monday after Thanksgiving. The company says it expects to move 22 million shipments internationally that day, an 11 percent year over year increase.
The National Retail Federation, meanwhile, is forecasting holiday sales to increase 3.9 percent this holiday season to over $602 billion – despite the sluggish economic recovery and consumer uncertainty about their financial futures.
“Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said earlier this month. “We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months.”
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